Shops and customers on alert over fake banknotes

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POLICE have warned that fake bank notes are being circulated in the borough.

It has been reported that several counterfeit Scottish £20 notes have been offered for transactions in shops in the area.

The notes can be distinguished by the water mark – which appears unclear when compared to authentic currency.

The independent crime-fighting charity, Crimestoppers, is now appealing to the public for information on those making, buying or selling counterfeit banknotes.

When checking notes, people should feel for raised print across the words Bank of England; hold the note up to the light to check the watermark and look for the metallic thread running through every genuine note.

The charity is launching its “Fake money is a crime – who’s selling it?” artwork in bars and clubs in order to raise awareness of counterfeit crime.

In the first half of 2015, around 119,000 worthless counterfeit banknotes with a notional value of £2.3m were removed from the UK’s streets, while the figure for the whole of 2014 was around £8m.

Crimestoppers director of operations Roger Critchell, said: “The public should not be tempted by these notes, as it is a criminal offence to knowingly hold or use them. The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of counterfeit money, especially around Christmas when money can be tight, but also to highlight how heartless and callous fraudsters can be when targeting their victims.”

Ben Crosland, senior manager of the Banknote Education Team at the Bank of England, said: “The general public play an important role when it comes to reporting counterfeit currency, and campaigns like this are essential to encourage the public and businesses to help us and our partners at the National Crime Agency stop the counterfeiters.”

If anyone has information on those making, selling or buying counterfeit notes, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or through the Anonymous Online Form at crimestoppers-uk.org/give-info.