A MAN on trial for having counterfeit bank notes claimed they were 'props' to be used in a music video.

James Howkins told police, a jury heard, that he could get 'a million views' and become famous.

He added: "I am not stunning, I am trying to search for gold legitimately."

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Prosecutors, meanwhile, said that his claim was 'nonsense' and he had really bought himself counterfeit currency.

Howkins, 36, of Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, denies one count of having custody or control of a counterfeit currency note.

His trial at Oxford Crown Court got under way yesterday.

Outlining the case prosecutor Giles Morrison said that Howkins was found with the fake money at an address in Jericho, Oxford.

He said that the counterfeit cash, totalling some £1,880 was seized by police on May 16 this year.

The court heard that officers found the money underneath a bedroom mattress and it was in £20 denominations.

The jury was also shown the counterfeit currency notes which were described as 'sophisticated' fake bank notes.

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Those £20 notes included common security features such as a metallic strip and a hologram.

Howkins was arrested and he was interviewed by police, and that interview was performed in court by the prosecution and a police officer.

During the interview, the court heard, Howkins claimed that he had bought the cash online using Gumtree for £200.

He said they were to be used as a 'prop' for a music video.

He told officers: "I don't use them, I am not using them in any shops and I bought them for myself, for doing prop."

He went on to say that 'the dog ate some' and that he threw some away.

Speaking of the online purchase he said: "They sell prop money, you can buy money for music videos.

"I'm not being horrible, I didn't know it was against the law."

Talking about the music video he said: "I am trying to go forward in my life.

"I am trying to tell stories. I am trying to do something legit."

Howkins was asked during the interview if he thought £200 was 'a bit steep' for the notes.

He replied: "You get a million views on your feed and become famous.

"Could get a million views. I am not stunning, I am trying to search for gold legitimately."

Mr Morrison, for the prosecution, said to the jury: "Why would you pay £200 for a load of photocopies?

"If he is making a music video why does he need such convincing copies?"

He added that Howkins' account was 'nonsense.'

He said: "It's a bit like going to Ryman and buying a notebook and paying £200 for it.

"The reality is it's nonsense."

Howkins denies the charge and the trial continues.