A GANG of fraudsters from Sunderland travelled to Yorkshire passing fake £20 notes.
The four crooks – all in their teens or early 20s – targeted shops and cafes around Pickering and Scarborough during a two-day fraud spree.
York Crown Court heard that the Wearside gang travelled to Yorkshire on March 12 in a Ford Focus, littered with envelopes stuffed with counterfeit £20 notes.
One of the shops they targeted was Eastgate News in Pickering, where two of the males tried to buy goods with a fake £20 note. The shopkeeper rejected the note and asked them to leave.
Prosecutor Laurie Scott said that a short time later they targeted the Mr Crackling cafe in Falsgrave Road, Scarborough, where one of the males bought a drink with a fake note.
They targeted several other shops in the East and North Yorkshire areas, but were finally rumbled when the owner of Eastgate Fisheries, in Pickering, realised the notes were fake, took down the car’s registration number and called police.
Officers in a patrol car spotted the vehicle in Wykeham,but when they approached the vehicle, it sped off.
Police eventually caught the vehicle and arrested them.
Three of them, who cannot be named for legal reasons, later admitted their part in the fraud and are waiting to be sentenced.
One of them, 21-year-old Lewis Halliman, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the car when stopped by police, denied playing a part in the counterfeit operation.
He appeared in court for trial by jury after pleading not guilty to conspiring to pass on counterfeit cash.
The court heard that the four males mainly targeted convenience stores, buying small items such as cans of pop.
Prosecutor Laurie Scott said police found more than 60 fake £20 notes “littered around the vehicle”.
Halliman, of Sandalwood Square, Sunderland, denied having any knowledge of the counterfeit notes or that attempts had been made to use them, claiming he wasn’t in Yorkshire on March 12 and just went for a day out on March 13 “because I was bored”.
The court was told that a police search at the homes of the four suspects unearthed fake notes at all the addresses except Halliman’s.
Unlike the three others, his fingerprints were not found on any of the notes.
But after a long deliberation, the jury found Halliman guilty by majority verdict.
He will be sentenced along with his three co-accused on a date to be fixed.