Fake medals and poppy badge fraudster Henry Lyttel sentenced

Image source, Derbyshire County Council
Image caption,
Trading Standards officers described the operation as "large scale" and "sophisticated"

A fraudster who made thousands of pounds from fake military medals produced in his shed has been given a suspended sentence.

Henry Lyttel, from Derby, bought medal collections at auctions and forged the missing medals to inflate the value.

His company, Croft Militaria, also sold poppy badges in breach of a Royal British Legion trademark.

At Derby Crown Court, the 29-year-old admitted fraudulent trading and trademark infringement.

Image source, Derbyshire County Council
Image caption,
Lyttel made thousands from the sale of his poppy pin badges

Derbyshire County Council's Trading Standards team brought the case against Lyttel following complaints from customers.

Investigators found he had bought medal collections for individual military officers at auction and carried out research into whether they had received other honours that were not included.

He then used counterfeiting equipment kept in his shed to produce fake versions which would be treated with chemicals to make them appear aged.

He used this technique to add a counterfeit Distinguished Flying Cross medal to a collection purchased for £320 and list it for sale priced at £2,500.

Illegal poppies

The county council said the Royal British Legion confirmed the poppy badges sold by Lyttel had infringed its registered trademark.

The authority said Lyttel was believed to have made £72,000 from the fake medals and £10,000 from the poppy badges, with no contribution to the charity.

Lyttel, of Ashbourne Road, Mackworth Village, received a two-year sentence, suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from acting as a director of a company for five years.

Carol Hart, the county council's cabinet member for communities, called his scam "despicable" and "reprehensible".

A Royal British Legion spokesperson said: "It's a sad fact that there are people who actively defraud the public in order to take funds intended for the support of our Armed Forces community.

"The two-petal poppy is The Royal British Legion's registered community trademark and one of our most valuable assets."

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