Members of a Lewisham gang were jailed for 15 years last Friday, after being found guilty of running a false identity racket. It is thought they produced more than 2,000 fake IDs.
The six men were caught creating counterfeit passports at an industrial unit on Lewisham Way last April, during the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Maxim.
Detective Inspector Sarah Davies, from Operation Maxim, said: “They weren’t dabblers in this line of crime – they had all the professional equipment needed to produce official-looking IDs.”
Police recovered a huge range of counterfeit documents, including birth, death and marriage certificates, National Insurance cards, utility bills, London Underground cards, bank statements Security Industry Authority cards and Construction Skills Certificate Scheme cards. Five hundred fake passports from 12 different countries were found, including Spain, Liberia and the Congo.
Davies said: “We believe they were selling the documents for between £50 and £500. These documents would probably have been destined for people wanting to hide their real identity, so they could either live in the UK illegally or try and evade detection if they were wanted by police.”
“They may also have been used by people to gain jobs they were not qualified for or allowed to work in, perhaps because of previous convictions, or to gain access to benefits they are not entitled to.”
“In short, this gang were potentially facilitating others’ crime by supplying them with fake IDs. Today’s sentence means they will not be continuing their criminal business.”