Warning to shopkeepers after ‘convincing’ fake £20 notes change hands

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

Shopkeepers have been warned to look out for ‘extremely convincing’ counterfeit bank notes following accounts of fakes changing hands across Suffolk.

This paper has heard reports of fraudulent £20 notes being passed off as the real thing at shops in Framlingham, Woodbridge, Leiston, Southwold, Aldeburgh, Halesworth and Bungay, as well as over the Norfolk border in Gorleston and Harleston.

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

“We had cashed up for the day, when a young lad came in to buy something for £3,” she said.

“He wanted to pay with a £20 note but I couldn’t give him any change so he left, saying he would get change from his mum, but he didn’t return.

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“We had already been given two fake £20 notes without realising.

“The bank said they were the most convincing forgeries they’d seen for about 15 years.”

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

“Apparently, the only slight difference was the feel of the paper – and that they were slightly smudged,” she added.

After warning other shops, the branch heard of several local traders unwittingly accepting the forgeries on Saturday and Monday.

“We’ve all been emailing each other,” said Mrs Pollard.

“We won’t know the extent of it until everyone visits the bank.

“They’re extremely convincing and people should be wary.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Constabulary received reports of a boy trying to use suspected fake £20 notes in the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in Market Hill, Framlingham, on Saturday.

“The boy managed to use two in exchange for goods but was refused a third time when there was no change in the till. The boy is then alleged as saying he would obtain change from his mother but never returned.

“Police are keen to raise awareness among shopkeepers in particular about this incident, and would advise businesses to be vigilant and check cash as thoroughly as possible.”

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

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