A massive forgery factory filled with thousands of fake documents and cards has been shut down and its operators jailed.

Sergiy Mykhaylov used his home in Stratford to produce fake papers, setting up computers and printers capable of producing tens of thousands of counterfeit documents.

The Ukrainian national sold them online and shipped out to customers across the UK.

When officers raided the 38 year-olds home they recovered more than 3,000 completed identity documents, 3,500 passport style photos and 300 Construction Skills Certificate Scheme cards, as well as 40,000 bank cards and £15,000 in cash.

He was arrested in June 2018 by National Crime Agency surveillance officers outside his workplace in Queen’s Yard, Hackney.

Just before his arrest, Mykhaylov was seen handing over six forged ID cards which he had produced to order for one of his regular customers 37-year-old Sergiy Kalinins.

Kalinins and Mykhaylov both pleaded guilty to multiple fraud offences and were sentenced today (21 September) at Blackfriars Crown Court to six years and three months and five years and six months respectively.

Mark McCormack, branch commander from the NCA, said: “This investigation has dismantled a whole supply chain for false identity documents, from the street-level dealer, the middle-market distributors, all the way to the actual forger.

“Document factories like Mykhaylov’s support criminal activity and affect the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom.

"The type of documents produced could be used for money laundering or to help people gain work or access services in the UK illegally, but may also lead to dangerous consequences, especially if people suggest they are qualified workers in industries such as construction or driving when they are not.

"Shutting this factory down will make it harder for criminals to ply their trade and therefore help to safeguard the public.”

NCA investigators identified Mykhaylov as a principle supplier of forged documents following the arrest of another of his customers, Dmytro Mykhailytskyi, aged 39, on 15 May 2018.

Like Kalinins, Mykhailytskyi acted as a middle man who sourced documents from Mykhaylov for street-level dealers.

Officers searching his home in Romford recovered 16 ID documents in different names with his photo on, along with £4,000, $1,000 and €1,100 in cash.

Mykhailytskyi pleaded guilty and was sentenced today to five years and four months in prison.

One of the street-level dealers, Arsen Baculi, aged 24, was detained in February 2018 after NCA officers watched him retrieve a number of false ID documents from behind an electricity box on Falmouth Road.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years at the Old Bailey on 17 May 2018.