Counterfeiting trial told of 40ft containers buried under cabin

Fri, Jul 6, 2012, 01:00

THE TRIAL at the Special Criminal Court of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency has heard evidence from a building contractor who lifted out two containers buried underground and a Portakabin.

The four men – Anthony Sloan (57), a native of Belfast with an address at Ard na Mara, Dundalk, Co Louth; Liam Delaney (41), with addresses at Mountrath and Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois; Kevin Flanagan (43), of Borris-in-Ossory; and Andrew Poole (43), of Portlaoise, Co Laois – have all pleaded not guilty to possession of equipment, including printers and cutting machines, to manufacture counterfeit currency at Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois on May 31st, 2010.

Michael Holland told the court he received a call from gardaí to attend a yard near Ballybrophy in Co Laois on June 2nd, 2010.

He brought equipment with him including one piece of machinery to lift up the Portakabin and remove the buried containers.

He told prosecuting counsel Garnet Orange that once he lifted up the Portakabin he could barely see the two containers, which were covered in concrete, through a hole in the ground.

“The two containers were side by side and well insulated with rectangular blocks on the outside of them and steel anchors holding them in the ground,” said Mr Holland.

The court heard earlier that gardaí who raided a yard near Ballybrophy found the four accused men in a Portakabin.

Inside the cabin gardaí discovered a trapdoor which had been hidden under a chest of drawers.

It led to an underground bunker constructed from two 40-foot containers.

Within this bunker gardaí discovered a number of printers, cutting machines and other materials used in printing.

Evidence was also heard from Kerry-Ann Lambert-Flower, a centre manager at Stena Line, who produced records showing ferry bookings made under the name Kevin Flanagan for a single journey with a vehicle from Dublin to Holyhead on January 27th, 2010, and a single journey with a vehicle from Holyhead to Dublin on March 31st, 2010.

She also gave evidence that bookings were made under the name of L Delaney and Liam Delaney for journeys with vehicles from Holyhead to Dublin on March 10th, 2010 and April 8th, 2010. Under cross-examination by defence counsel for Mr Delaney, Fergal Foley, Ms Lambert-Flower agreed no identity documents had been produced when the bookings were made as they were “verbal bookings.”

She also said there was no way of verifying that the vehicle registered on the bookings actually travelled.

An Irish Ferries supervisor gave evidence that bookings were made by K Flanagan on January 28th, 2010, for a sailing from Holyhead to Dublin.

Paul O’Brien also gave evidence bookings were made with the ferry company under the name Liam Delaney for a single journey with a vehicle from Holyhead to Dublin on February 5th, 2010, and a single journey from Dublin to Holyhead on March 9th, 2010.

Mr O’Brien told Mr Orange no identification is checked when bookings are made.

He also said some of the bookings were made at the port at the time of travel and other bookings were made online.

“We don’t have to verify passenger names travelling between Ireland and England,” said Mr O’Brien.

The trial continues.