A HAMPSHIRE man made fake coins which he sent overseas, a court heard.

Post office staff became suspicious of Milton Freeman and tipped off police when one of his packages was returned from Greece and was found to contain what appeared to be 300 British gold sovereigns.

Jurors heard that the following day he tried to send a letter to Germany which the manager held on to and passed to police. Inside were seven more gold sovereigns, which are legal tender.

Officers raided Freeman’s Romsey home where they found more fake coins.

They also seized two halves of a mould bearing the impression of gold sovereigns from the boot of his car, the court was told.

When questioned, Freeman said he had been trying to send the original package back to his native Greece because it was not something he wanted.

He told detectives he had manufactured coins to use as novelty business cards. He also said he had been making something that resembled coins for Greek people because of their tradition of putting them in Christmas cakes or puddings, and for women to wear them on their national costume.

But when his computer was seized and analysed, it revealed he had been doing research into manufacturing coins that were as close as possible to genuine in appearance and weight, prosecutor Tim Moores told Southampton Crown Court.

He added: “He managed to produce a number of prototypes and was in possession of items clearly counterfeit and good enough they could get past someone who was not an expert. We are alleging that he had or made items with the intention that they should be passed or traded as genuine.”

Mr Moores said Freeman had emailed suppliers of replica coins in China and the United States and he had been warned by one contact that any replica had to have the words “copy” or “replica” stamped on it otherwise he would be committing a criminal offence under US law. Freeman had replied he did not think that applied in the UK or Greece.

Many of the coins recovered by police were made from base metals covered in gold plating.

Among the fake coins found at his home were 15 copies of a 1963 gold sovereign, 29 other gold sovereigns, two gold plated £2 coins and six South African Krugerands, two of which were gold plated.

Freeman, 61, of Pine Road, Romsey, denies two counts of attempting to deliver counterfeit protected coins and one each of having custody or control of counterfeit materials and a protected coin and making a counterfeit protected coin.