Counterfeit Bank Notes

Northumbria Police are keen to support local businesses in identifying, reporting and ultimately deterring criminals from using counterfeit bank notes in your area.

In order to educate local business and encourage them to take the right action, we offer the following advice on this type of crime:

Identification of Counterfeit Notes

CashFEEL - Check the feel of the paper and the raised print: if you run your finger  across the front of a banknote, you will feel raised print in areas such as the words "Bank of England" on the top. The paper should feel stiff and crisp not limp, waxy or shiny.

COMPARE  - Always compare both sides of a suspect note to one you know is genuine (from the till etc). The difference will be easy to spot. Check the print quality  -  the lines and colours should be sharp and clear, not smudged or blurred.

WATERMARK - Check the watermark: if you hold the note up to the light, you can see an image of the Queen’s portrait. On £20 notes the watermark also contains a bright £20.

THREAD - Check the metallic thread embedded in each note. This appears as silver dashes on the back of £5, £10 and £20 notes. If you hold the note up to the light, the thread will appear as a continuous dark line

FOIL - Check  the foil features; on £5 and £10 notes there is a hologram on the foil patch. When the note is tilted the images change between a brightly coloured picture of Britannia and the numerical value of the note. There is a foil strip on £20 notes containing alternating holographic images. One shows a multicoloured image of Adam Smith and the other changes between a multicoloured £ sign and the number 20.

SERIAL NUMBER - If handed more than one suspect note, check the serial numbers are not the same.

If you receive a suspect counterfeit note do not hand it back, note the details of the customer (photographic ID if possible) and contact the Police immediately.

Anyone with information about the production or distribution of counterfeit notes is asked to call police on 101 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.