A FRAUDSTER ordered thousands of fake £2 coins from China to sell at car boot sales, a court was told.

Andrew Gilbert admitted ordering 5,000 counterfeit £2 coins to be delivered on a cargo flight run by DHL from Shanghai to Heathrow Airport when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court.

If they had not been intercepted by customs officials in China they would have been bound for his address in Cheshire Grove, Kidderminster.

The 33-year-old had initially denied the fraud before changing his plea to guilty on the day of trial on Monday.

Trevor Meegan, prosecuting, said the package, weighing over 1kg, was intercepted by Chinese customs officials on November 21 last year.

The Royal Mint analysed the consignment of coins which featured a Mary Rose design with a good visual quality but poor edging.

However, Mr Meegan said: “It would be difficult for members of the public to differentiate them from genuine coins in circulation.”

During the course of the investigation they found a single £2 coin in the defendant’s wardrobe in his bedroom, though the prosecution offered no evidence in relation to this.

They further seized £1,125 in cash from the defendant’s jeans and a mobile phone. One text sent to the defendant’s mobile phone said: “Let me know how many coins for Monday.”

Initially Gilbert said he ordered a number of coins for Christmas but ‘nothing dodgy’.

Bank records were analysed which showed four PayPal transactions to a company which supplies coins to an e-commerce company called Alibaba.

There were four transactions between November 1 and November 22 the court was told.

In interview, Gilbert said he had a heroin addiction and sells goods at car boot sales and used a website in China to buy ‘festive coins’ at £1 per coin.

Mr Meegan said he had doubled his money through these sales.

Previous convictions include possession of class A drugs in 2008 for which he received a 12 month community order and a caution for shoplifting.

Lee Egan, defending, said although the pre-sentence report said Gilbert was not guilty he had since accepted he was.

Mr Egan said: "He does not wish to move away from his guilty plea."

Judge Pearce-Higgins said Gilbert's actions were 'a corruption of the currency' and that if a member of the public got hold of a counterfeit coin or note they would be the loser.

He sentenced Gilbert to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years.

The judge also placed Gilbert on a 12-month community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement.