ELDERLY men headed up a “clumsy and foolish” operation to manufacture £200,000 worth of fake £2 coins.

The four men carried out a “not well thought out plan” to produce thousands of fake coins from a warehouse in Laindon.

David Marshall, 74, David Venables, 50, and father and son Robert and Bobby Mead, aged 69 and 30, were all arrested after police raided a unit in Southfields Business Park in November 2017.

Robert Mead and Venables were found inside, along with a host of printing and pressing equipment and stacks of metal.

David Marshall was spotted driving by the scene and also arrested.

Bobby Mead, who had been instructed by his father to operate the machinery, was also arrested.

Prosecuting, Cyrus Shroff, said: “Two of the defendants were found at the premises; Robert Mead and David Venables and two cars were also there.

“Venables said to the officers that he just popped in for a cup of tea.

“Throughout the investigation there were coins found in various locations and times, and all were confirmed to be counterfeit.

“Bobby Mead was identified because of fingerprints on the equipment.”

Mr Shroff said £200,000 in counterfeit coins could have been produced.

Venables, of Gordon Road, Basildon, Marshall, of Hunts Drive, Writtle, Robert Mead, of Braintree Road, Dunmow and Bobby Mead of Jones Close, Southend, admitted conspiracy to make a counterfeit of a currency coin with intent.


Mitigating for Robert Mead, Daniel Setter, said: “He said there was no more than £40,000 of coins, and £30,000 were usable. He estimates they made around £10,000 each. It was rather poorly executed.”

Mitigating for Venables, Edward Seller said: “It was a clumsy, foolish and not very well-planned attempt to pay off his debts.”

Judge Andrew Hurst said: “What you do present to me is three elderly people who for some reason decide to become involved in this coin operation.

“There’s nothing cosey or sentimental about getting involved in this way. You should all be thoroughly ashamed.”

Venables and Robert Mead received nine months in prison suspended for two years with three-month curfews, while Marshall received no curfew. Bobby Mead received nine months suspended for a year with a six month drug rehabilitation programme.