It is an offence to keep or pass on fake bank notes, police warn

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In the run up to Christmas and the increased number of shoppers, police have advised local business people, staff and members of the public to be vigilant and take a few minutes to check notes carefully before accepting them and always report any suspicious incidents to police.

It is a criminal offence to try to pass or keep a bank note that you either know or suspect to be counterfeit.

If you inadvertently receive a note that you believe to be counterfeit, you should take it to the nearest police station.

There are a number of steps, which can be taken to raise awareness amongst retailers and customers, and also to deter criminals:

- display clear warning signs stating: - Counterfeit currency checks will be carried out

- ensure store staff are aware how to examine notes

- have a policy for your staff to follow on discovery of a counterfeit note. This should include the retention of the note and contacting the police, with a description of the person passing the suspect banknote.

- ensure there are good lighting conditions at cash points.

Genuine notes can be recognised by the following observations:

- does the main printing feel raised?

- can you see a bold and clear watermark when the note is held up to the light?

- does the note feel crisp and not limp, waxy or shiny?

- is the print clear, sharp and well defined?

- are the colours clear and distinct? Compare the suspect note against a note which is known to be genuine

- is the security thread continuous when the note is held up to the light?