Crimestoppers urges the public to be on the lookout for fake banknotes

stock pic money cash notes pay
stock pic money cash notes pay

In the lead up to Christmas, the independent crime-fighting charity, Crimestoppers, is today appealing to the public for information on those making, buying or selling counterfeit banknotes.

In the first half of 2017, over 237,000 worthless counterfeit banknotes with a notional value of over £4.88 million were removed from the UK’s streets.

While less than one per cent of notes in circulation are counterfeit, this is not a victimless crime. Many retailers, businesses, schools, charities and the elderly have been conned out of money using fake notes.

Christmas is a time when more cash changes hands, especially £20 and £50 notes, and fraudsters take advantage of the festive season by targeting busy shops with temporary staff.

Incidents include scammers tricking innocent members of the public into swapping fake £20 notes for two genuine £10 notes, and businesses being left out of pocket if they take a counterfeit note.

Counterfeit notes are also known to be linked to serious and organised criminal gangs.

One gang was sentenced to over three years’ imprisonment for the manufacture of £320,000 worth of fake notes.

In another more recent case, three men were prosecuted after £40,000 of fake notes were found in a Kent property that was also used to supply cannabis.

As well as raising public awareness of fake banknotes, in October Crimestoppers partnered with the Bank of England to launch the Banknote Checking Scheme.

Aimed at cash-handling businesses, it promotes banknote checking at point of sale through targeted training, with the aim of reducing the number of counterfeit notes being accepted.

Director of operations for Crimestoppers, Roger Critchell, said: “Fake notes are completely worthless and knowingly holding or passing on counterfeit notes is a crime.

“The purpose of this campaign is to raise awaness 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”.