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PS1 COIN FRAUDSTER JAILED FOR 2 YEARS; Man 'at bottom of the ladder' in supermarket change machines scam.

Byline: JOHN SIDDLE Crime Reporter @jsiddle

A MAN who put more than 20,000 counterfeit PS1 coins into supermarket change machines across Merseyside and the region was jailed.

Ellesmere Port man Andrew Cockill was given a two-year sentence after a judge said he took part in the sophisticated con out of sheer greed."

Mold Crown Court heard how many of the coins had not been seized and the majority had been passed back into circulation.

Cockill, 33, of Haycroft Close, was told by Judge Niclas Parry: "This struck at the very heart of the economy of this country. It was a professional set-up - coins had been made in order to take advantage of the change machines nationwide.

"As a result of the part you played, these coins are now in circulation in the economy of this country, no doubt being paid to innocent members of the public and businesses."

Cockill travelled far and wide as part of the conspiracy, targeting Coinstar change machines at supermarkets in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

The machines allow customers who put in their small change, often from money boxes, to have vouchers instead, subject to commission.

Over a week in late September and early October last year, significant amounts of cash were deposited in 21 stores across the region.

twitter Suspicions were roused because of the Join us @ large amount of PS1 coins being deposited when the company usually receive small amounts of money when emptying money boxes.

On September 30, more than PS7,000 was deposited in seven supermarkets and PS13,000 was put into change machines at 14 supermarkets including Morrisons, Tesco and Asda at Neston and Queensferry.

In his police interview, Cockill admitted depositing the coins throughout the region after he found it difficult to get legitimate work as an electrician.

He was put in touch with someone to exchange the coins at PS1,000 a go, he claimed.

He said he was told where to go, given a list with post codes of various stores and was paid PS50 for every PS1,000 bag he deposited in the machines.

While the counterfeit coins were sorted in Manchester, they were not picked up as fakes and went into general circulation.

The judge said that a gang "made coins to take advantage of the machines."

Alun Williams, defending, said Cockill was full of remorse.

He told the court: "He is at the bottom of the ladder, merely the foot soldier. This was a particularly hairbrained on twitter scheme." LIVECHONEWS

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 26, 2014
Words:432
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