Shoppers and business owners in Burnham-On-Sea have this week been urged to be vigilant as counterfeit £50 banknotes circulate in the town.
Two men have tried to change high-value fake banknotes at shops, including a town centre fish and chip shop.
Speaking to Burnham-On-Sea.com, Keith Holman at Brit Chips in Adam Street said he has seen two of the counterfeit Scottish £50 notes.
“Two men with an Irish accent have been going around shops, trying to change up the forged £50 notes,” he said.
“One of the men came in and asked for a cod and drink, and paid with a £50 note. He left and his mate came in a short time later and asked to change another one, which is when one of our staff ‘smelt a rat’ and declined it.”
“The other man never came back for his cod and drink. They were both in their late 30s or early 40s and we would urge shops and businesses to be extra vigilant.”
He added: “Looking at the bank note that was left behind it’s clearly a counterfeit.”
“It has no watermark, poor quality paper, low-quality ink and no raised lettering. It’s a good copy that at a quick glance you’d think is genuine.”
“We’ve been caught out and it’s cost us. I wouldn’t want any others to fall victim, which is why we want to get the word out there locally through Burnham-On-Sea.com.”
It’s understood that several shops in Burnham have been approached and have declined the counterfeit notes.
A spokesman for the Bank of England says: “Counterfeiting directly funds organised crime.”
“It hurts the UK economy by creating losses for businesses, which ultimately affects the cost of things that we buy. It also affects the pocket of anyone who receives a counterfeit note, as they are worthless.”
“If you report counterfeiting to the Police, you are helping with investigations and alerting them to a problem in their area. This means that they can take action to protect your community.”
Police said that if retailers are unsure about the authenticity of a note, they always have the option to politely decline and request payment by another method.
Anyone with information which might assist Police with the investigation is asked to contact Burnham-On-Sea Police on 101.
For more advice about counterfeits, check the Bank of England website here.