School flooded by fake �1 coins

A SCHOOL has warned hundreds of parents to beware after it received more than 100 fake �1 coins as payment for meals and trips.

Colin Adwent

A SCHOOL has warned hundreds of parents to beware after it received more than 100 fake �1 coins as payment for meals and trips.

Northgate High School in Ipswich, which has 1,700 pupils, discovered the forgeries were being passed through its canteen and accounts department after its cash carrier Loomis spotted the coins were counterfeit.

The money had been destined for the school's account at Nat West bank via electronic cash transfer.

A letter to parents from Northgate High School's principal finance officer Linda Walker reads: “A number of forged �1 coins are passing through the school.

“Because significant amounts are involved, more than �100 in the last two weeks alone, in future all �1 coins will be checked at the time of payment and will not be accepted if fake.”

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A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said Northgate was the only school which had informed it of the problem so far.

The Sidegate Lane school's headteacher Neil Watts said: “Our bank flagged it up. They were seeing an increasing number of forgeries. Therefore we contacted the county school meals service and also the police. We felt we needed to let our parents know about it as well.”

Mr Watts stressed that should any pupil unwittingly hand over a counterfeit coin in the canteen they would not go without lunch.

They would be able to go to the school's reception, where they would be loaned the money in exchange for the forgery.

Advice has also been given to parents in relation to how to spot fake �1 coins.

Ipswich police were informed last Thursday about the amount of counterfeit money that had been paid in at the school, after the scale of the problem became apparent.

Lou Rosher, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “Police are conducting inquiries after being alerted and are encouraging anyone with information in connection with the forged �1 coins to get in touch.”

The Safer Neighbourhood Teams throughout Ipswich have also been informed, along with shops in the area of Northgate High School.

The number of fake �1 coins in circulation in Great Britain now stands at more than 30 million, according to the Royal Mint.

This amounts to a doubling of forgeries in the past five years, with one in every 50 �1 coins now said to be counterfeit.

It is illegal to make or use counterfeited coins and the Royal Mint says people must hand them in if they think they have one.

Although it can be difficult to tell depending on the quality of the forgery, the key signs include a poorly defined ribbed edge, the wrong typeface and an indistinct design or bust of the Queen. A fake can also be slightly different in colour.