More shops hit by fake £20 note scam – can you tell the difference?

Which one is fake? One of the counterfeit notes (top) alongside a real £20 note. Picture: MICHAEL ST

Which one is fake? One of the counterfeit notes (top) alongside a real £20 note. Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD - Credit: Archant

More examples of fake £20 notes – described as ‘extremely convincing’ – have surfaced around Suffolk.

Sue Curtin, from Cafe Clare with the fake £20 notes. Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

Sue Curtin, from Cafe Clare with the fake £20 notes. Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD - Credit: Archant

Earlier this week, shopkeepers were warned to be vigilant and check cash as thoroughly as possible, after traders reported fraudulent notes changing hands in towns across the county.

Police have received reports of fakes being exchanged at shops in Southwold, Beccles, Bungay Framlingham and Clare.

Five of the eight confirmed victims of the fraud were charity shops, police said.

Forged notes were also passed off as the real thing at two cafés in Clare, near Sudbury.

Which one is fake? One of the counterfeit notes (top) alongside a real £20 note. Picture: MICHAEL ST

Which one is fake? One of the counterfeit notes (top) alongside a real £20 note. Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD - Credit: Archant


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Café Clare owner Sue Curtin, who kept hold of the three forgeries used in her shop, said: “We had three forged notes on Saturday, although we didn’t discover this until Monday evening when we were getting the money ready to bank.

“We are only a small café and £60 is a lot for us to lose.

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“This is the first time anything like this has happened that we know about, but that doesn’t make it any sweeter.

“It’s quite a blow for a family business like ours.”

Rachail Pollard, manager of Framlingham's St Elizabeth Hospice shop, which was handed fake �20 notes

Rachail Pollard, manager of Framlingham's St Elizabeth Hospice shop, which was handed fake �20 notes. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Notes were used at the Sue Ryder Charity Shop in Southwold, the Brake charity shop and a card shop in Bungay, and the British Heart Foundation shop and Sue Ryder shop in Beccles.

Two forged notes were used by a teenage boy on Saturday at the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in Framlingham, where manager Rachail Pollard believes a third attempt was foiled that same day.

She said the bank called the forgeries the most convincing they had seen for about 15 years.

According to Mrs Pollard, the notes stood up to the scrutiny of a counterfeit detection pen and an ultraviolet lamp, due to a coating of wax across their surfaces.

“They’re extremely convincing and people should be wary,” added Mrs Pollard, who had also heard of fake £20 notes being used in Woodbridge, Leiston, Aldeburgh and Halesworth, as well as over the Norfolk border in Gorleston and Harleston.

Police said they were keen to raise awareness among shopkeepers in particular, and advised businesses to be vigilant and check cash as thoroughly as possible.

•Notes were used on Friday and Saturday at the Sue Ryder Charity Shop in High Street, Southwold.

On Saturday, a boy with an Irish accent used two notes in exchange for goods, but was refused a third time, when there was no change in the till at Framlingham’s St Elizabeth Hospice shop.

On Monday, fake notes were used at the Brake charity shop and a card shop in Bungay, and at the British Heart Foundation shop and Sue Ryder shop in Beccles – all involving a male suspect with an Irish accent, in his 30 or 40s, wearing a blue jumper.

Three notes were taken at Café Clare on Saturday and three more notes were taken on the same day at Honey Hill Café, in Church Street, Clare, where it is believed three people went in to exchange the notes – with one of the suspects a boy between 12 and 13, with dark curly hair and an Irish accent.

Anyone with information about the circulation of counterfeit money should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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