Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:20 GMT on Monday, 19th November 2012.
Strathclyde Police issue advice on how to detect counterfeit bank notes


Picture is copyright of Scott Campbell/ Cumbernauld Media.

STRATHCLYDE Police has warned retailers and members of the public in North Lanarkshire area to be on their guard after a shopkeeper reported receiving counterfeit notes last Thursday (15th November).


Enquiries are underway to trace the origin of the notes but with the festive period upon us, officers are concerned that more of these notes may be circulating and are asking shoppers and retailers to be on the lookout and report any suspicious activity.


Constable James Ruddell said: “We have received a report that a Bank of England £20 note was used in a charity shop at the corner of Main Street, Wishaw and given that Christmas is approaching we know a lot of people will be out shopping, buying presents and we want to ensure people are aware of the possibility of counterfeit cash circulating.  If anyone with information is asked to contact Motherwell Police Office on telephone number on 01698 483000.”


As enquiries continue Strathclyde Police have issued advice on how people can work out if a banknote is real or fake:


  • Check the feel of the paper - banknotes are printed on special paper, which feels rough, not smooth or shiny and should not feel limp or oily.
  • Raised print - By running your finger across the note you can feel raised print in some areas, such as the words 'Bank of England' on the top, front of the note, or the 20 in the lower right front on the new £20 note.
  • Metallic thread - the thread is embedded in the paper in all banknotes, and appears as silver dashes on the back of the £20 note. When held up to the light, the metallic thread appears as a continuous dark line
  • Watermark – There are a series of horizontal 'bars' that run through the foil read. On many Fake notes, these watermarks will show very clearly under UV light.
  • Quality of printing - Lines and colours are sharp, clear and free of any blurring or smudging. Micro-print - using a magnifying glass, look closely at the lettering beneath the Queen's portrait - you will see the value of the note written in small letters and numbers. This should appear as continuous lines and not a series of dots.
  • Hologram - on the front of the old £20 note there is a hologram on the foil patch. If you tilt the note, the image will change between a brightly coloured picture of Britannia and the number '20' On the new £20 note a series of holograms will change from the head of Adam Smith to a 20 and another shows a 20 and a £ symbol. The figure 20 is also embossed on the strip.
  • Fluorescent feature - if you put a £5, £10 or old £20 note under a good quality ultra-violet light, its value appears as a bright red and green patterned numeral on the front lower left, while the background is dull in contrast. The new £20 shows this on the front, top centre and also has random coloured flecks of red and green on both sides of the note. Under ordinary light there is no trace of this number. This feature is not found on an English £50 note, but a foil emblem is. This shows a reflective Rose and Medallion.
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