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Con caught Irish scammer poses for bizarre mugshot after arrest in Wales trying to pass off fake €50 notes

The court heard that the three targeted “vulnerable” shops over a two-day crime spree on October 17 and October 18

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Richard O'Driscoll (22) of Pontefract Road, Leeds, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for 24 months for conspiring to pass counterfeit currency.

Richard O'Driscoll (22) of Pontefract Road, Leeds, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for 24 months for conspiring to pass counterfeit currency.

Richard O'Driscoll (22) of Pontefract Road, Leeds, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for 24 months for conspiring to pass counterfeit currency.

One member of a gang of Irish scammers is pictured posing for a bizarre mugshot after he was arrested in Wales after being caught trying to pass off fake 50 euro notes. 

Richard O'Driscoll (22) of Pontefract Road, Leeds, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for 24 months for conspiring to pass counterfeit currency.

The other two, Michael O'Driscoll (26) and Mary Conners Stokes (19) remain at large and warrants have been issued for their arrests.

The court heard that the three targeted “vulnerable” shops in Penrhyndeudraeth, Porthmadog, Criccieth, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llanfrothen over a two-day crime spree on October 17 and October 18, 2019.

Prosecutor Laura Knightly said: "They tried to make a series of low value transactions in shops using counterfeit Irish £50 notes."

She said they would go into a shop and "appear not to know each other".

If they paid for something and the counterfeit £50 note was accepted they took the change.

If it was refused they would "leave with haste".

In a bid to increase the chances of the shopkeeper accepting the false currency, they would use a distraction technique .

In total 13 shops were targeted with Michael O’Driscoll taking the lead eight times, Richard, four times and Conners Stokes once, the prosecutor said.

The court heard that the sham notes were "quite realistic" and staff in two shops - Spar in Penrhyndeudraeth and the Co-op in Blaenau - were among those who were tricked into thinking they were real.

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However, they were rumbled when one of the conmen struck at Siop y Garreg in Llanfrothen on October 17 at 1pm and a worker there became suspicious and rang police. As the conman left, she reported his blue Transit van heading towards Beddgelert.

Officers found counterfeit Irish notes hidden in the lining of the van and the DNA of all three defendants in the vehicle too and they were arrested.

Prosecutor Ms Knightly said in all police seized a total of 27 £50 notes from the van and the shops. An analyst found they were all counterfeit.

Ed Mitchard, defending Michael O'Driscoll, said he and Richard had been in prison in 2019 and had become addicted to heroin.

He said: "Michael was given the opportunity to make money from the fake notes and foolishly took it."

He has two children and another on the way. He has got rid of his addiction, is deeply apologetic and "wants to be a better father".

David Birrell, defending Conners Stokes, said she has two sons but suffers from depression, adding that the men took the lead.

And Paulinus Barnes, for Richard O'Driscoll, asked the judge to take into account his young age at the time of the offence.

Both Richard O'Driscoll and Conners Stokes remain at large.

The judge, His Honour Timothy Petts, said it had been "a determined campaign to try to pass 27 notes to predominantly small shops perhaps because it was thought they would be vulnerable."

But he added: "Counterfeit currency undermines the economy". The notes had a potential value of £1,350.

He jailed Richard O’Driscoll, of Pontefract Road, Leeds, for 24 months, Michael O’Driscoll, of St Anthony’s Site, Avonmouth, Bristol, for 19 months plus one month to run consecutively for failing to surrender to bail, and Conners Stokes, of Rosa Street, Spennymoor, for 16 months.

He also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the counterfeit money.

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