Saturday, 31 July 2010

Trident Cops Arrest Suspect In Murder Investigation

A suspect has been arrested by detectives hunting the killer of a hard-working father-of-five shot dead trying to flee his black BMW car in Chingford, East London.

Wayne Powell, 39, (pictured) from Tottenham, North London suffered fatal multiple gunshot wounds in Higham Station Avenue on July 5.

Officers and an ambulance were called at 11:14 pm and Wayne, who worked at Seven Sisters Underground Station, was rushed to the Royal London Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem gave cause of death as gunshot wounds.

An incident room has opened under Detective Chief Inspector John Crossley from Operation Trident, which investigates violent black-on-black crime.

DCI Crossley said: "We are looking for a lone gunman who was wearing dark clothing. The suspect is believed to have left the scene of the shooting along a footpath in the direction of Coningsby Gardens.

"I would implore anyone who believes that they have information that could help this investigation to speak to police."

Friday, 30 July 2010

VAT Man Nails Tax Fraudster

A boss of a global private equity company who tried to swindle a £12,682 refund out of the VAT man – backed-up by bogus documents – has ben ordered to work for free.

Juell Rahman, 39, of Whitten Road, Twickenham runs Intra Partners Ltd., of 500 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, which has branches in Dubai and Mumbai.

He pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates’ Court (pictured) to fraud on or about November 12, last year in relation to a false telephone invoice he gave Revenue and Customs when applying for a £12,682 VAT repayment.

He also pleaded guilty to further charges of making a false representation, producing a false sales invoice, a false list, a false online invoice and a false credit card statement in support of the bogus repayment.

He was prosecuted by the Central Fraud Group who told the court the repayment was never paid to the defendant after investigators discovered he was supporting his application with forged invoices and bank documents.

Rahman was sentenced to a twelve-month community order including 250 hours community service work.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Discarded Lollipop Stick Sparks Soho Stabbing

A knifeman who left a diplomat and banker in pools of blood after a lollipop stick tossed by their group touched his BMW as he drove through Soho has been caged for twelve years.

Darius Antoine, 22,(pic.) of Haggerston Road, Hackney, East London also intimidated the crowd with martial art nunchukas outside Moonlighting, Greek Street (pic.).

He was convicted by a Southwark Crown Court jury of wounding Bahamian diplomat Brian Dorsett, 33, and 40 year-old banker Ben McKinney, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, in the early hours of December 6, last year.

Both men had earlier attended a black tie function aboard HMS President, moored by Temple and a function for young diplomats in Buckingham Palace Road.

They were rushed by helicopter to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel after a chest wound punctured Mr. Dorsett’s lung and Mr. McKinney was stabbed in the stomach.

Detective Sergeant Andy Passingham from the Westminster Borough Serious Violence Team said: “We are really pleased with the outcome of this trial. This sentencing reflects the seriousness of this offence and the hard work of the team resulting in this man being brought to justice.”

Recorder William Boyce QC told Antoine he stabbed the victims ''for no reason whatsoever'' in a ''wholly unjustified'' attack.

Mr. McKinney was able to take down the BMW's registration number despite having been stabbed and Antoine was arrested on December 18.

Recorder Boyce added Antoine was ''carrying the knife to use as and when the occasion arose''.

“For no reason whatsoever he stabbed two men, one of whom was utterly helpless, and yet he still came back for more,” he added.

Leaving the club at about 5am one of the group, investment banker Adlai Kerr, threw a lollipop stick into the road, accidentally hitting the rear windscreen of a white BMW but causing no damage and leaving no marks whatsoever.

Antoine got out of the car and demanded an apology, but the group of friends thought he was making something out of nothing.

He went back to the car to get the knife and returned to stab Mr. McKinney.

Antoine returned to the car, but seeing Mr. Dorsett was “totally helpless” and held in a full Nelson by another man he returned to stab the victim in the chest, causing him life-threatening injuries.

The judge said it was ''a lottery'' whether the victims suffered fatal injuries or not and added that Antoine was lucky that both men made full recoveries.

“Each of them will be mentally affected for a long time to come by your shocking and unlawful behaviour,” added Recorder Boyce.

Witnesses then saw Antoine ''full of confidence and bravado'' head to the boot of another car and arm himself with a pair of nunchuckas.

He was caught on video, swinging the nunchuckas around in a ''completely arrogant and self-confident'' manner, ''prepared to take on anybody'', the judge said.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Drug Dealers Sold Heroin & Crack To Police

Four drug dealers who unknowingly sold heroin and crack to undercover police who seized over 500 wraps of the drugs when the gang were rounded-up are starting prison sentences.

Camden police’s Criminal Investigation Department mounted a surveillance operation after intelligence collected by the Safer Neighbourhoods Team identified the dealers.

They are: Lee Porter, 34, of Endsleigh Gardens, Bloomsbury ( David Gittens, 44, of Parker Street, Holborn (pic.2nd top) Adrian Thompson, 23, of Little Dimocks, Balham (pic.3rd top) and Jonathan Fox, 49, of Parker Street, Holborn.

Porter received three-and-a-half years for supplying heroin and crack cocaine.

Gittens received four years and four months for being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine and money laundering.

Thompson received eight years for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering.

Fox received five years for being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.

Porter was identified by officers as a street dealer within the network and Gittens and Fox would hold on to the packages and collect the money with Thompson also delivering drugs on a daily basis.

On January 13 officers identified a vehicle used by the gang in Parker Street, Holborn while Porter and Gittens, loitered nearby.

Police stopped the vehicle, arresting the passenger Thompson, who had over 500 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin.

Officers also arrested Porter and Gittens -who was carrying a large amount of cash –and Fox was arrested following the execution of a warrant.

All four men pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Detective Constable Paul Heselwood from Camden CID said: “Drug dealing in Camden is an increasingly risky business and it's only a matter of time before we catch you.

“I hope these long prison sentences act as a deterrent and make people think twice.”

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Body-In-Suitcase Killer Caged For Life

The killer of a lonely-heart Internet date – who drained his hardworking victim’s bank account of cash after dumping her body in a suitcase – has been caged for life with a 30-year minimum.

Callous IT specialist Clinton Kennard Bailey, 36, of Malpas Road, Lewisham, South-East London placed a personal ad on website Gumtree – answered by Philippines-born care nurse Leah Questin, 37.

He was convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering Leah – whose decomposed body was found in The Old Pond, Buckland Road, Cliffe, Rochester, Kent on September 24, last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Jacqueline Sebire of the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: “Leah died at the hands of Clinton Bailey who, during their short relationship, deceived her and took advantage of her generosity.

“Following her death, Bailey emptied out Leah's bank account of the money she had worked incredibly hard to save.

“He has throughout the investigation lied and denied ever murdering Leah, showing no remorse for his actions.

“There is no excuse or explanation for Clinton Bailey's actions. I would like to send my respects and thanks to Leah's friends and family for the support and courage that they have shown throughout the trial and investigation.”

Leah came to the UK in 2008 to fund her education in health care.

She had a small circle of friends and colleagues, so used the Internet as a way of meeting people and in mid-August last year she responded to an advert posted by Bailey.

The pair met and then formed what the prosecution believe she hoped was the beginning of a romantic relationship.

During this brief four-week period, Bailey persuaded Leah to devote her time and attention to him, with Leah even lending him money whenever he asked for it.

Officers discovered Bailey made a series of cash machine withdrawals from Leah's savings account after he killed her, completely draining her savings.

He also kept her mobile phone following her death and continued to send text messages to close friends and on occasions himself, in an attempt to suggest she was still alive.

Bailey had also kept and used Leah's Oyster Travelcard during this time.

The suitcase and padlock in which Leah's body was discovered in was purchased by a man matching Bailey's appearance, at the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

The exact cause of Leah's death was impossible to determine.

Natasha Lazovic, regional manager for Four Seasons Health Care Home, The Lansdowne Care Home, Cricklewood, North-West London where Leah worked said: "Leah's death was a tragedy.

"She was a dedicated and caring person who was extremely well liked by her colleagues and the residents who she looked after. She is sadly missed."

Monday, 26 July 2010

Jealous Ex Jailed For Killing Mum-Of-Two With Kitchen Knife

An "insanely jealous" jilted boyfriend - enraged his his ex's new Facebook lover - was caged for nine years today after plunging a seven-inch kitchen knife through the mum-of-two's heart, killing her in front of their two year-old toddler.

Builder Paul Fender, 44,(pictured) of The Parade, Greatstone, New Romney, Kent killed 28 year-old Karren Martin after she smirked and told him: "Yeah. So what. I am seeing someone."

He was acquitted of murder by a Croydon Crown Court jury on grounds of provocation, but was convicted of the manslaughter of Miss Martin who died almost instantly at her rented bungalow in Hardy Road, New Romney (pic.below) on November 20, last year.

The couple's two- year old daughter Lilly was in the lounge when her father killed her mother. Miss Martin also has an 11 year-old son Callum from a previous relationship.

The victim began a sexual relationship with an old schoolfriend she met again via Facebook a few weeks before her death - telling friends this was the man of her dreams.

Fender confessed to police he did go around to her house to confront her about the new boyfriend and flew into a rage when she confirmed it was true.

"You had become obsessed by her and insanely jealous of anyone with her," the Recorder of Croydon Warwick McKinnon told Fender.

"You killed her because you could not accept she was with someone other then you and when she admitted she was sleeping with someone else and laughed you reached for that knife and plunged it into her.

"You gave her no chance, you had become self-obsessed and were obsessed by her," added the Judge.

"It had to be all or nothing and in the end you made the determination it would be nothing and have left a trail of suffering in your wake.

"This was a dreadful killing of a woman in her home and I regard such provocation to be minimal," the Judge told Fender. "You killed her with toddler Lilly, aged two watching on.

"You have deprived little Lilly of her mother as you have with her son Callum. You gave her no chance, there was no struggle."

The defendant told detectives: "I just wanted all the pain to go away, I'd had enough, I just thought she'd be injured. I was shaking in anger. It was jealousy after she told me she was seeing this bloke."

The couple endured a troubled relationship between 2005 and 2007, ending when Miss Martin moved out three months after the birth of their daughter in November.

She had to leave her new boyfriend's house the night before she died so Fender would not spot her car absent from the drive.

In the early hours happy Miss Martin's final Facebook entry read: "Yippydee doo daa, yippydee day. My oh my, what a wonderful day."

The same morning Fender was buying building materials with a workmate and told the colleague "he was burning up inside."

After the stabbing Fender called 999 and sat outside the bungalow hugging Lilly in the back of his car as ambulancemen battled in vain to save Karren.

He also later told police: "Let this be a lesson to you. Don't love someone too much."

Fender's QC Richard Barraclough said of the first-time offender: "There is immediate and genuine remourse that continues to this day.

"The defendant lost self-control as a result of what Karren Martin said and the jury found the loss of control was reasonable in the circumstances."

Judge McKinnon added: "No sentence can bring Karren Martin back. She's tragically gone long before her time was due."

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Cannabis-Dealing Student's Dreams Destroyed

A “greedy” student whose dreams of becoming a stockbroker were shattered after being caught selling cannabis to fellow academics has walked free with a suspended prison sentence.

Faraaz Junjua, 19, of Highbury Gardens, Ilford, Essex made a name for himself selling £10.00 bags of the drug to Kingston University students and was arrested after being caught smoking cannabis twice in the same evening.

Now employed as a car salesman and living back at the family home Junjua pleaded guilty to possessing 54 gms of the drug, with intent to supply, at Seething Wells Halls of Residence, (pictured) Portsmouth Road on February 16.

Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court heard security guards smelled cannabis coming from a room and when they investigated Junjua admitted he was responsible, pulling a small plastic bag of the drug from his pocket.

The incident was reported to management, but later that evening they investigated cannabis smoke coming from another room and again Junjua was inside with four small bags of the drug.

Police were called and under the defendant’s bed officers found a black suitcase containing ten bags of cannabis, a plastic carrier bag containing more cannabis, weighing scales and £650 cash.

When quizzed Junjua admitted selling cannabis to students for the previous three months, for £10 a bag, confessing he got “greedy” and pocketed £800 during the period.

“People like you hang around the edge of students and make money out of them,” Judge Paul Dodgson told the defendant. “If Kingston University students think it is alright to use cannabis, then they need to know it is not.”

Junjua was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to perform 150 hours community service, pay £300 costs and forfeit £350.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Flat Hired For Cannabis-Growing Operation

A young single-mum who hired out her flat for use as a DIY cannabis-growing factory has dodged jail with a suspended sentence.

Samantha Francis, 21, of Chiltern Drive, Surbiton stayed with her parents at another address while 45 plants were grown underneath tents erected inside her home.

She pleaded guilty at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court (pictured) to permitting premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis between January 1 and February 22.

When arrested by police Francis was initially evasive, but later admitted she knew what was going on, but was not involved in the day-to-day growing operation or shared in profits.

Judge Paul Dodgson told the first-time offender: “You have been stupid and you know it. Being involved in the production of cannabis is something deserving of a custodial sentence.

“You were approached and saw a way of making easy money,” added the Judge. “You did not think of the consequences and once you started you could not get out of it.”

Francis was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, was ordered to perform 120 hours community service work and obey a nighttime curfew for three months.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Caretaker Raids Residents' Apartments

A trusted residential caretaker at a landmark development raided unsuspecting residents flats while they were out, helping himself to thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and electrical equipment, a court heard.

Scottish-born Paul Cunningham, 47, even took a £4,000 car from one resident of Downings House,(pictured) a Grade II listed former school building at 21 Southey Road, Wimbledon, drove it to Gatwick Airport and fled to South Africa.

He pleaded guilty to burgling one female resident on or before April 9, stealing a diamond ring, sapphire and diamond ring, gold watch, gold ring, broche and chain, worth £7,200.

He also admitted taking a £1,000 Sony television and surround-sound equipment from another flat and stealing a set of car keys for a Toyota Yaris from a couple who were on holiday.

Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court heard Cunningham, whose family emmigrated to South Africa when he was young, returned to the UK in 2007 and got the caretaker’s job on June 1, 2008.

The position came with spare sets of keys for all the flats and the first victim suddenly realised jewellery was missing from inside her ground-floor flat despite no evidence of a break-in.

Later that month a letting-agent noticed household electrical equipment was missing from an unoccupied flat and when a couple returned from holiday on April 11 their car was gone.

On each occasion the victims tried to call trusted Cunningham to report the crimes, but there was no response.

On April 12 the defendant sent a text to the couple, informing them their vehicle was parked at Gatwick Airport and it was recovered by Sussex Police.

He sent a follow-up text revealing he was returning to “face the music.”

He also revealed the jewellery had been pawned at a broker’s in Tooting and some of it was returned to the victim.

Cunningham was circulated as wanted on the Police National Computer, but he returned to the UK and handed himself into Wimbledon Police Station on May 8.

The defendant, who claims he has a heroin and sleeping pills addiction, told officers he only received £155 for the jewellery and sold the television for £500.

He was remanded in custody for sentencing on August 12.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Gay Heath Pick-Up Ends In Harrods Fraud

A swindler who embarked on a Harrods spending-spree with the bank card of a man he met on notorious gay haunt Hampstead Heath - triggering a break-up - was locked-up for a year today.

Deaf Abraham Icheke-Neal, 41, had already used the card behind the victim's back at nearby Hugo Boss, Sloane Square during the couple's shopping trip and days' earlier extracted cash during a day-trip to gay-friendly Brighton.

He was caught after the victim - a businessman from Richmond-upon-Thames - gave police a toothbrush the defendant used during their short fling and tell-tale DNA was found.

Icheke-Neal pleaded guilty to fraudulently using the card to obtain £300 from an Asda cashpoint on August 22, 2008; £299 worth of clothing from Hugo Boss on August 24 and £1,066 worth of items, plus £350 cash at Harrods (Pictured) the same day.

Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court heard the defendant met his victim as they cruised Hampstead Heath, with Icheke-Neal virtually moving into the businessman's home immediately.

He watched his prey tap in his four-digit PIN number when using the bank card to pay for a meal then secretly used the card for himself as the couple went on trips to the coast and top London stores.

Prosecutor Miss Anne Davies told the court Icheke-Neal disappeared with the victim's wallet and mobile phone in Harrods and after giving-up waiting the businessman decided to drive home.

At nearby traffic lights the defendant suddenly appeared "carrying a large amount of shopping and flowers" and when challenged about the fraud said: "I suppose that means we're finished."

Icheke-Neal fled, but was arrested after the DNA match and refused to co-operate with police.

The bank have compensated the victim.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Nat West Cashier Nicked Customers Details

A crooked bank cashier in the heart of London's financial district who stole different customers' details eleven times - selling them to an accomplice for spending sprees - has dodged jail with a suspended sentence.

Disgraced Gary Paul Shale, 20, of Shrewsbury Street, North Kensington was eventually caught after swiping a lady customer's debit card after she left it in the branch's chip and pin machine.

He pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates' Court to defrauding the National Westminster Bank, New Bridge Street of £3,848.20 on October 2, last year.

Prosecutor Mrs Varinder Hayre told the court customer Catherine Doyle withdrew £50.00 at the counter, but after leaving her card behind Shale took it, swiped it and kept her details.

The customer's password was changed and card used to buy furniture, perfume and other items totaling thousands of pounds.

Shale was suspended by bosses on October 30 and arrested by police at home on December 9.

When quizzed he confessed to selling the card details for £200 to a man called 'Ty' at a railway station and doing it on ten previous occasions, pocketing a total of £1500.

Shale's lawyer Mr. Kingsley Nwokolo said: "This was a foolish action by a young man who had everything going for him and has lost a lot.

"He was pressurised, misguided, misled and exploited by friends and is full of remourse and regret for the shame he has brought on his family."

Shales, currently studying for a marketing degree at Roehampton University was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, suspended for twelve months', ordered to perform 100 hours community service and must pay £1,000 compensation within three years.

Afterwards Detective Constable Ian Whiting of the City of London Police's Cheque and Credit Card Unit said: "This is an excellent result for the woman victim whose personal details were violated."

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Watch Your Bags! - Saadia's about.

An Arabic-speaking thief who sought-out soft targets in the West End and Chelsea - helping herself to female shoppers cash - has walked free from court with a slap on the wrist.

Saadia Zrideg, 54, of Cann House, Russell Road, West Kensington posed as a shopper in boutiques, pouncing when her victims tried on a pair of shoes and rifled through their handbags.

She pleaded guilty to stealing £5,000 from a woman in Next, Oxford Street on January 26 and attempting to steal a £200 Dior wallet from a shopper in Zara, Brompton Road, on April 10.

City of London Magistrates' Court (pictured) heard the victim in Next left her handbag on a chair and her sister fortunately spotted Zrideg rifling through it.

The defendant tried to bluff her way out of being caught red-handed claiming: "I have no money, there is nothing," as she held the wad of cash.

She tried to flee the store with the money and was held by security staff.

Despite her arrest Zrideg was at it again three months later, removing a woman's wallet from her handbag as she tried on a pair of shoes, concealing it inside a T-shirt.

Again she tried to flee and was stopped by security staff.

Zrideg, who has twelve theft convictions, was given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £225 costs.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Iran Military Man Facing Jail

A globe-trotting businessman who travels to war zones with the BBC was told he is going to prison today after being caught exporting 100 telescopic sights for firearms use in Iran.

Company Director Andrew Faulkner, 42, of Dog Drove, Sutton St. James, Spalding, Lincolnshire was arrested after Customs men swooped on the consignment at Heathrow Airport.

"I know precious little about you, but it is an extremely serious allegation you pleaded guilty to," Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith told Faulkner at Southwark Crown Court.

"I need to know how long to send you to prison for."

Faulkner pleaded guilty that on February 18, 2009 at Heathrow Airport, Hounslow and elsewhere in the U.K. he was knowingly concerned in the unlawful exportation or attempted exportation of goods, namely optical sights for firearms.

He pleaded not guilty to two further charges that between October 21, 2008 and February 19, 2009, he conspired with Alessandro Bon and others to export goods, namely optical sights for firearms and military lifeboats to Iran, with intent to evade the prohibition on exportation of military goods.

The prosecution will not proceed with those counts and they will lie on the file.

One hundred high spec German-manufactured Schmidt & Bender sights, worth 124,000 Euros, were packed into seven boxes seized by Customs and Excise at Heathrow on February 18.

They were bound for Dubai, but the prosecution allege the final destination for the scopes – which have 3 – 12x magnification - was Iran.

Faulkner was arrested on February 23 and charged at Snow Hill Police Station, City of London on September 1.

His lawyer Mr. Nicholas Bleaney told the court his client had travelled widely while on bail and was not a flight risk.

"He has got a fixed base, a wife and children. He has been abroad looking after BBC cameramen in Afghanistan and the like."

Regarding the life-raft charge Mr. Bleaney added: "There is such confusion regarding those who police this legislation my client, not being a lawyer, but a member of the public, could not possibly know what the rules were."

Faulkner was bailed until September 8 for sentencing and Judge Lorraine-Smith added: "It is difficult to see how it can be anything other than a custodial sentence. The question is how long."

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Banksy Art Conmen Scammed Collectors Worldwide

Two Internet art fraudsters who sold fake ‘Banksy’ prints on eBay to a string of unsuspecting victims in a £200,000 scam have dodged prison with suspended sentences.

Grant Howard, 44, ( of Birdhurst Rise, South Croydon and Lee Parker, 45 of Caroline Way, Eastbourne (pic.2nd top) were responsible for 120 fakes seized by police.

They both pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court to conspiracy to defraud and each received a 12 month suspended sentence, ordered to perform 240 hours community service work and were banned from selling anything on the internet for five years.

The court heard the pair were both keen Banksy enthusiasts who exploited the weaknesses of the anonymous artist.

They sold fake artwork to victims across the UK and overseas, predominantly through the global marketplace of eBay.

The pair orchestrated the fraud by setting up multiple eBay accounts, Paypal accounts and email addresses, thus allowing them to carry on with the deception over a long period of time.

If they were challenged by a buyer they would simply refund their money.

They also registered with discussion forums and duped other members into buying fake prints.

The screen prints they sold bore limited edition numbers and several bore fake Banksy signatures and Tag stamps.

Many buyers were given fake provenance documents (supporting authenticity), to add plausibility to the prints.

The pair created the fake provenance documents, including sales receipts, fake bank statements and fake emails purportedly from Pictures on Walls (POW), the company instructed by Banksy to exclusively make and sell screen prints based on his existing graffiti designs.

The emails detailed sales history for the pieces and in essence authenticated the artwork as genuine.

The pieces were then sold to victims throughout the world via numerous accounts held with Internet auction site eBay.

Detective Constable Ian Lawson, of the Metropolitan Police's Art and Antiques Unit, said: “This was a lucrative and unscrupulous scam in which the culprits had no qualms about ripping off collectors, sometimes to the tune of several thousands of pounds.

“They set up e-Bay accounts using details of relatives and friends thus spreading suspicion onto these innocent people.

“The gang went to great lengths to deceive their victims and it is only right that they should face the consequences of their actions.

“The harm done by the defendants in undertaking their fraud goes beyond the immediate losses to their individual victims.

“Buyers' confidence is vastly important in the legitimate collectors' market in art.

“When fraudsters infiltrate fakes into those markets, that confidence is dented, with an inevitable effect on prices, an effect that is bound to be felt by all collectors in the market.

“We would advise anyone looking to invest in art to check each and every piece of provenance right back to the original owner and if possible find an independent authenticating body to check if the piece is genuine.

“If buying from Internet forums and online action sites then take additional care and proceed with caution - names, emails and conversations can all be manufactured for sale purposes.”

Officers became aware that fake Banksy prints with limited edition number were being sold, mostly on eBay via accounts linked to Howard and Parker.

By working closely with the Internet sites involved and POW, officers were able to build the evidence picture against the two defendants.

An eBay spokesperson said: “We are delighted to hear of today's sentences, having worked closely with the Metropolitan Police since September 2008 to bring this case to court.

“Our long-standing commitment to this case highlights our intolerance for those fraudsters who attempt to sell fake items on our site.

“We will continue to build on our work with law enforcement agencies to make sure that justice is served if anyone decides to try their luck."

Several purchasers came forward with prints and provenance documents which were found to be fake, and search warrants were executed at the suspects' home addresses.

Searches later took place at the homes of friends and relatives whose names had been used to register some of the E-Bay accounts.

During their searches, officers recovered numerous fakes along with tracings of limited edition numbers, tracings of the stamps used by POW on genuine Banksy art work and impressions of the Banksy 'tag' stamp used on the prints.

Six months after their original arrest Howard was caught attempting to sell another fake Banksy print in a hotel in London.

This particular victim was targeted as a potential buyer via a Banksy discussion forum and later contacted with the purpose of arranging to meet for a sale.

During the investigation more than 120 fake/reproduction prints were recovered, approximately half from the home address of the pair and the remainder from victims.

If sold as genuine on the open market, it is estimated they could fetch in excess of £200,000.

One of the prints sold was the ‘bomb hugger’ bought for £6,500 by an American collector (pic.bottom).