Pair jailed for fake banknote escapade

TWO men who toured the country passing counterfeit £10 notes have both been jailed.

Richard Heath, 46, and Peter Renton, 27, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 offences in four different towns in the east of Scotland.

Heath also had a previous conviction for a similar offence in Inverness while a computer was seized from a flat belonging to Renton which was used to copy the counterfeit Royal Bank of Scotland notes. They all had the same serial number.

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Renton, who had previously been jailed for dealing in ecstasy, pleaded guilty at Jedburgh Sheriff Court to passing the 10 notes at six businesses and shops in Dunbar, Haddington and North Berwick, all East Lothian, on 27 February.

Heath - whose previous convictions were described as "colourful" and who was currently working at a branch of Sainsbury's - admitted seven offences in Hawick the following day after he was stopped in a vehicle alongside Renton.

The court was told how the pair would buy small items such as sweets or biscuits and pocket the change in real currency.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond dismissed defence pleas that the pair had stumbled across the idea after meeting unknown men in public houses and getting the counterfeit money in order to pay off debts.

He said: "What we have here is two men getting together and travelling to different parts of the country passing counterfeit notes. Over two successive days in four separate towns you were involved in this scheme.

"You both have records which are significant."

Sheriff Drummond said a custodial sentence was inevitable for the pair, who shared a flat at Cobbinshaw House, Calder Gardens, Edinburgh.

Heath was jailed for 175 days and Renton received a sentence of 125 days.