Fake Scottish Banknotes Warning To Leeds Businesses.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Police are warning people in Leeds to be vigilant after a number of reports of forged Scottish banknotes being used in the city.

Over the last few weeks, officers have received several calls reporting counterfeit £20 notes being used at various local businesses.

These include incidents where the notes have been used in the purchase of second-hand cars and also for smaller items in shops, restaurants and other businesses. On some occasions businesses have been asked to change the notes for English ones.

Officers from neighbourhood policing teams are making local businesses aware of the issue and the incidents reported are being investigated to identify those responsible.

Sergeant Fiona Van Kampen, of Leeds District Contact Management Unit, said: “Although the use of counterfeit currency is thankfully still relatively rare, we have recently had a number of reports of fake Scottish banknotes being used in Leeds which suggests there has been an increase.

“While we don’t want people to be unduly alarmed, we would like businesses particularly to be vigilant and take all the normal precautions to check that any notes used for transactions are genuine.

“They should check more than one of the relevant security features, including the feel of the paper, the watermark, raised print, and any move/tilt hologram.

“It is a criminal offence to hold or pass a banknote knowing it to be counterfeit and any business who encounters one should not return it to the person and should contact the police. We would ask they note a description of the passer and any vehicle details to assist with our enquiries.”


The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is one of three banks in Scotland who issue their own banknotes, along with Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank, gives the following advice on spotting counterfeit notes:

Look for genuine security features, comparing a suspect note with one that is known to be genuine.

Never rely on looking for only one feature – the feature you choose may be one the counterfeiters have attempted to replicate.

Check for as many as possible of the following:

Serial Numbers – Genuine notes have unique serial numbers therefore if you have two notes displaying the same serial number then at least one of them is a counterfeit.

Paper – Genuine banknote paper should be reasonably crisp and not limp, waxy or shiny and the special printing processes give banknotes an individual feel.  It should not feel like normal paper.

Watermark – Genuine watermarks should be hardly apparent until the note is held up to the light when the clear portrait with subtle light and shade becomes visible.  The watermark on RBS ban notes is an image of Lord Ilay who appears on the front of the banknotes.

Security Thread – Genuine notes have a metallic thread embedded in the paper and when the note is held up to the light the thread appears as a bold continuous line.

Printing – Raised print is used in some of the features on genuine banknotes and should feel slightly rough to the touch.  Lines and print should be sharp and well defined with no blurred edges.  Colours should be clear and distinct – not hazy.  The wording on genuine RBS banknotes is in raised print.

Move/Tilt – If a genuine note bears a hologram the colours/images will change depending on the angle the note is held.

Detector Pen – When applied; detector pens leave a dark line on most counterfeit notes; if the note is genuine the pen leaves no mark.  You can mark a suspect banknote diagonally from corner to corner

UV Light – Genuine banknotes are dull under a UV light with only the special UV features present in the note highlighted yellow

Magnifying Glass – Genuine notes contain some microprint that is only visible using a magnifying glass. On a genuine note the print should be sharp and well defined with no blurred edges.  On RBS banknotes microprint features within the block of colour at the bottom of the front of the note and should read ‘RBSRBSRBSRBS’ and the line above this block of colour should read ‘The Royal Bank of Scotland’

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