Three Brazilian nationals were sentenced to a total of five years in jail for producing hundreds of counterfeit identity documents from flats in Bayswater.
It follows an investigation by officers from the London immigration crime team, a specialist unit of seconded Metropolitan Police Service officers working with UK Border Agency staff.
Cybelle Mota aged 31, Renato Cardoso aged 25 and Edson Cavilha aged 40 were arrested in September 2009 following raids on two flats that Mota and Cardosa were renting in Leinster Gardens and Hereford Road, Bayswater.
At the properties officers discovered stencils, stamps, templates and documents, as well as scanners and computers that were used to produce fake passports, identity cards, National Insurance cards, driving licenses and other forms of identity.
They had used some of these themselves, but others were sold on to ‘customers’ who wanted to pose as an EU citizen to gain work or housing in the UK.
All three pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to produce identity documents for fraud, and during a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, Cardoso was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, Mota was jailed for 16 months, and Cavilha was told he’ll have to spend 12 months behind bars.
They will all face deportation at the end of their sentences.
Detective inspector Mike Duncan from London immigration crime team said:
‘Mota, Cardoso and Cavilha ran a sophisticated criminal operation with one aim – to help themselves and others flout the UK’s immigration laws.
‘We hope that their sentences will send out the message that both we and the courts take these kind of offences very seriously.’
Detective superintendent Chris Foster, head of London and South East regional immigration crime team, said:
‘The Metropolitan Police and UK Border Agency will continue to work in partnership to target the small minority of foreign nationals causing harm to our communities.
‘Those involved in or benefiting from organised immigration crime face arrest, prosecution and a prison sentence.’