FOUR members of a criminal gang who deliberately travelled to Bridlington to off-load £2,000 in forged £20 banknotes have been jailed for up to six weeks.
The gang, all from the Grimsby area were caught red-handed, one of them with his underpants stuffed with the forged notes.
Hull Crown Court heard they had driven 40 miles from Grimsby and each had £500 in notes to spend in Bridlington shops.
At a hearing on Monday where the men appeared for sentencing, their actions were described as a pre-planned offence.
They were successful in palming off two forged £20 notes in the Subway sandwich shop in Promenade but were rumbled in Starbuys in Prince Street, trying to buy cheap face paint for a wad of change.
The Bridlington Shop Watch radio-link scheme alerted the police after several shopkeepers separately reported four men acting suspiciously.
One member of the gang pretended to be surprised that a member of staff at Starbuys spotted the forgery.
All four had pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of counterfeit notes.
Ring leader Alan Connor, 31, of Peaksfield Avenue, distributed the notes to the others. He travelled with his brother Harry Parkin, 21, of Winteringham Road, and Simon Harwood, 29, of Chelmsford Avenue, and Carl Hollingsworth, 27, of Alden Close, Immingham.
Prosecuting barrister Steven Robinson said Connor, Harwood and Hollingsworth were arrested at the Promenade Shopping Centre, Bridlington.
Connor was found with one £20 note in his pocket and 15 in his underpants.
Hollingworth had 20 fake notes and Harwood 24.
Parkin was arrested at Bridlington Railway Station with 25 notes and told police he had lost his nerve.
He said Connor had given them all 25 forged notes, but he knew what he was doing was wrong.
Mr Robinson said no one revealed where the forgeries had been printed.
Barrister Ian Philip for Connor said he is a family man with three children who accepted it was his enterprise.
Charlotte Baines for Harwood said he committed the offence because he needed the money and had only passed one note before he was arrested. She said: “Any prison sentence is going to be difficult for him.”
Chloe Fairley for Hollingworth said “He was steeling himself against a custodial sentence. He knows the court has that in mind.” He said he was too proud to ask his father for money who would have helped.
Solicitor Laurence Watts said Parkin claimed he had thought he was going to Bridlington to distribute leaflets.
Judge Mettyear said if he maintained that story he would lose all sympathy he had for him as a sibling who was misled by his brother.
Sentencing Judge Mettyear told them: “This was joint criminal behaviour by the four of you who set out with the intention of making easy money “Fortunately you did not have very much success and it was not long before you were caught”
He said: “The crime undermines confidence in the currency. The people who suffer are often innocent small shopkeepers and pubs.”
He jailed Connor for six weeks, Howard and Hall were given 28 days. Parkin was given 70 hours unpaid work and a curfew from 10pm to 6am.
He told them all they were lucky not to be going to prison for nine months.
Speaking after the hearing, Inspector Colin Waddington, head of Bridlington Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This case illustrates the effectiveness of Bridlington’s Shop Watch radio link scheme. Shops in radio contact with others alert each other to suspicious customers. Officers and PCSOs in the town centre are also on the link which in this instance led to the early arrest of the gang members and saved more people from being victims.”