A Bradford man who helped forge more than £1 million in fake cash was among a gang sentenced to a total of 36 years in prison.

John Hartley, 61, of Cheltenham Road, Swain House, was jailed for five and a half years after police discovered the multi-million pound operation to counterfeit money.

Hartley was discovered with more than £380,000 in fake notes when police swooped on a Range Rover being driven on the M62.

Christopher Brooke, 29 of Greenside, Pudsey and Lee Mitchell, 39, of Swinnow Gardens, Bramley, Leeds – who produced the counterfeit money – were each sentenced to 12 years by a judge at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

A fourth man, Ian Leslie Cole, 56, of north Wales was jailed for six years for his part in the counterfeiting plot.

A senior investigating officer said the gang had been “driven by greed” to produce millions of pounds in fake money to fund their lifestyles.

As part of the operation, police raided two homes in Leeds in June, 2009, and seized £5,000 in cash and electrical equipment used to print fake notes. They arrested Mitchell and Brooke. Hartley was arrested a month later following the swoop on the M62.

Further investigations led to officers searching Cole’s farmhouse in Northop, Mold, where they found more than £650,000 of counterfeit notes, part printed notes and equipment used in the production of counterfeit cash.

Officers also recovered paper used to make counterfeit currency capable of producing £4.8 million in fake notes.

Mitchell and Brooke, who were on bail at the time awaiting sentence for counterfeiting the cash found in Leeds, were found at Cole’s home and arrested.

All four pleaded guilty to crimes under the counterfeiting and forgery act.

After the case Detective Inspector Warren Stevenson said: “Officers have been able to recover more than £1m worth of counterfeit cash and part-produced notes as well as the equipment used to create the money.

“Each member of this organised crime gang had their own roles, Mitchell and Brooke had the skills and the knowledge to produce the cash, Cole was the facilitator and Hartley was the distributer.

“They were all driven by greed and were using the fake notes to fund their lifestyles.”

Victoria Cleland, head of notes division at the Bank of England, which was involved in the investigation, said: “Maintaining the public’s trust in our bank notes is a key role for the Bank and it is essential if the economy is to function properly.

“That is why we welcome this outcome because any counterfeit bank notes, however insignificant in number, might undermine that trust and often the victims of a counterfeiting crime are individuals who cannot afford to lose out.”