Reports are emerging of counterfeit Five Pound notes circulating in Sunderland shops and takeaways which have been received in various transactions (either wittingly or unwittingly).

The forged notes are described as appearing similar to real ones, but with subtle differences. These include a shoddier quality of material (the note is tearable) and also an absence of the logographic Big Ben seal of authenticity (which cannot be replicated by scammers).

An example of a fake five pound note, the big ben seal is missing and the material is different

With these forgeries circulating, we urge all shoppers and shopkeepers to carefully examine all the money they receive carefully on the spot, because if someone only finds out later they are being shortchanged then it often translates into an attempt to pass it on to someone else, creating a vicious circle by which multiple people are shortchanged.