The fake passport ring aiding UK’s most dangerous criminals

Passports forged for violent criminals

Credit: Yau Ming Low/Shutterstock

Three men who sold forged passports to some of the UK’s most violent and wanted criminals have been jailed today, May 26, for six and eight years. 

Anthony Beard, 61, from South London acted alone initially. He was paying people for their real passports and then adding photos of criminals. It is believed he paid only £100 for the passports but sold them for between £15,000 and £20,000.

Beard may have made more than 100 of these fakes over two decades, helped in part by Chris McCormack, a gangster who he met some years into his career who helped him expand his network of clients.

With McCormack, 67, also known as Christopher Zietek, an alleged ‘enforcer’ for crime gangs seemingly having the trust of on-the-run gangsters, the pair had access to a large network of customers.

BBC Breaking News showed him on Twitter printing photos of criminals to use on his fraudulent passports.

Together they supplied their fraudulent documents to gangsters, drug and arms traffickers and various renowned criminals including Irish cartel boss Christy Kinehan Snr and Jamie Acourt, suspected of playing a part in Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

Accused of supplying people at the very top of organised crime by the National Crime Agency, Beard was jailed for six years and McCormack for eight. Beard was noted to have taken passports from vulnerable people on the premise of helping them renew them.

A third man, Alan Thompson, 72, was implicated as a co-conspirator with McCormack but seen as having a lesser role than the other two. McCormack was said to have led the operation, or at least the part that sold to major criminals.

Judge Ainley was reported by the BBC to have described the scheme as: “a highly professional, skilled operation. It was to enable very wicked, sophisticated, violent criminals to escape justice by providing them with documents that because they were genuine would deceive the authorities to enable them to escape.”

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.