Published: 12:00, 27 August 2021
| Updated: 15:12, 27 August 2021
A would-be crystal meth cook who tried cloning scores of credit cards in a get rich quick scheme has been jailed.
Edward King’s methamphetamine laboratory was raided by police in Dover and was packed with dangerous chemicals and had detailed ‘How To’ instruction guides.
The 32-year-old was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court for two years and eight months, after admitting the illicit scheme.
Officers unearthed the lab at King’s St Margaret’s at Cliffe home in March, after police found him in possession of three blank credit cards in Canterbury, prosecutors said.
A raid uncovered 12 beginner guide manuals on fraud and drug production, alongside a fully stocked methamphetamine lab, though none had been produced, the court heard.
“The product of that search included a large number of items connected to fraud and production of drugs,” prosecutor David Tremain explained.
“There were 50 blank white credit cards in various states of production, not all had pins, some had written on them details of pin numbers and on some the names of banks.
"It is perfectly clear to me you are an intelligent and resourceful young man..."
“What these cards would have been used for was to make fraudulent withdrawals of money belonging to unsuspecting members of the public who had their data harvested.”
Officers also found hi-tech equipment to make fake credit cards and evidence of access to the dark web hunting for illicit data.
A further search unearthed the meth lab in its early stages, complete with all the components to make the highly addictive Class A drug; drain cleaner, caustic soda, other chemicals and handwritten lists of prices, instructions and potential clients.
A Taser disguised as a torch was also found.
“It is the crown’s case that Mr King was finding ways to enrich himself by criminal activity,” Mr Tremain added.
But King’s lawyer argued the operations were “an amateurish attempt and unlikely in reality to have been successful,” with only enough chemicals for a nine gram crystal meth yield.
William McBarnet, mitigating, added King had a juvenile mind after suffering a head trauma 10 years ago.
“Only nine grams was planned to be produced in this first attempt, my client tells me he was not successful in producing any at all,” he went on.
King’s Taser was intended only for self-defence after being attacked, Mr McBarnet said, adding: “He is fearful of being assaulted.”
But Judge James O’Mahony refuted claims King was juvenile, highlighting the “planned and careful lengths that you went to,” adding: “You knew exactly what you were doing.
“It is perfectly clear to me you are an intelligent and resourceful young man.”
“Fraud is a highly prevalent offence, anyone with a bank account or who shops online are aware there are scams everywhere, people are in fear of their bank cards being used and fraud of that nature,” he continued.
King, of Mount Pleasant Cottages in Chapel Lane pleaded guilty earlier this year to possessing an article of fraud, possession of a prohibited weapon and attempted production of a controlled drug.
Kent Police's DI Maxine Harris said: "King has failed to fully explain what he was doing with the various items found at his home, however, everything we have found suggests he was planning to produce the illegal drug to make money.
"Methylamphetamine and other class A drugs inevitably lead to further crime and anti-social behaviour for Kent's communities and I'm pleased this investigation has stopped such substances being sold to vulnerable drug users in the area.
"The blank credit cards and taser seized show King's criminality extended beyond the world of drugs and I am pleased he has now been removed from the streets of Dover.
"The message from this case for anyone else who considers getting involved in internet-inspired offences is that a jail term awaits you if you do."