A LEWISHAM gang who ran a fake ID racket, forging more than 2,000 counterfeit documents, have been jailed.
Detectives discovered enough fake documents to create hundreds of completely false identities when they raided a number of addresses linked to the men.
But the gang were caught red-handed creating passports when the Met's Operation Maxim team swooped on an industrial unit in Lewisham Way on April 9 last year.
One of the men - Michael Smith - was found sitting at a desk in the middle of producing a fake passport using his laptop.
Another - Olusola Opedo, aged 49, from Bermondsey - was found with a package containing a fake passport and keys to the address.
In an attempt to escape blame, he claimed in a police interview that he had been taken by an associate to buy clothes at the address, and that the owner had asked him to drop the package off at the Post Office as he went home.
He told police that the keys were for his house and that he was surprised to find they happened to work on the doors of the business unit.
Following raids, police found 500 fake passports from 12 countries - including Spain, Liberia and the Congo - drivers' licences and travel documents, plus numerous pieces of printing equipment.
After their arrests, a group of men were found guilty of conspiracy to make, adapt, supply or offer articles for use in fraud.
At Southwark Crown Court on January 31, Smith, aged 32, of Le May Avenue, Grove Park was jailed for four years while Opedo got a two-year sentence.
Oluwafemi Fabiyi, aged 30, also of Le May Avenue, and 29-year-old Tajudeen Adesina, of Deptford Broadway, were both jailed for two years.
Detective Inspector Sarah Davies from Operation Maxim said: "They weren't dabblers in this line of crime - they had all the professional equipment needed to produce official-looking IDs.
"We believe they were selling the documents for between £50 and £500. These documents would probably have been destined for people wanting to hide their real identity, so they could either live in the UK illegally or try and evade detection if they were wanted by police."