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Odd job man Paul Bart cleared of Sittingbourne fake coin factory

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

An odd job man has been cleared of involvement in an illegal factory making thousands of fake £1 coins.

Paul Bart, 65, walked free after a jury returned not guilty verdicts on one charge of making counterfeit coins with intent and one of having custody of counterfeit materials with intent.

No further evidence was then offered on an alternative charge of having custody of counterfeit coins intending to deliver to another and a not guilty verdict was entered.

The jury could not reach verdicts on the same charges for Mr Bart's brother-in-law Michael Silk, 70, of Sanderling Way, Iwade, and he will face a retrial in February.

His son, Stephen Silk, 49, of Wises Lane, Borden, has admitted his involvement in the scheme and will be sentenced after the retrial.

Maidstone Crown Court heard police discovered the horde of fake coins when they raided an industrial unit at Tonge Corner Farm, near Sittingbourne, in May.

Inside a concealed void were 8,000 counterfeit £1 coins, 14,000 metal discs waiting to be manufactured into coins and a hydraulic machine press.

The premises were being rented by Stephen Silk. Both Mr Bart, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, and Michael Silk denied playing any part in the factory or having any knowledge of it.

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