TRADERS are urged to be on lookout after an influx of fake £20 notes in Portsmouth.
Police say several students have been caught handing over the dodgy cash at pubs and clubs in the city in recent weeks.
A 20-year-old man was arrested on Thursday night after handing over a fake £20 note at Liquid and Envy in Stanhope Road, Landport, Portsmouth, in the most recent incident. When he was detained and searched police found more fake cash.
The student, who has no previous convictions, received a police caution.
Sergeant Rob Sutton, from Portsmouth’s city centre unit said: ‘It would appear that the majority of those who are handing fake notes over in pubs and clubs in the city are students. We are also getting a regular stream of fake £20 notes appearing at Gunwharf Quays. We don’t know where the fake money is coming from but it would appear over the last couple of weeks a small number of university students have presented fake £20 notes as payment. Some arrests have been made as a result of that. That doesn’t necessarily mean they knew that the money was fake. Whether it’s a rogue student who’s got their hands on fake cash, we don’t know.
‘If anyone inadvertently receives a fake £20 note take it into the bank or bring it to the police station and hand it in.’
Those convicted of making, passing, tending, or delivering counterfeit currency or being caught in possession of fake cash with the intent to use it face up to 10 years in jail.
Police plan to talk to University of Portsmouth students to raise awareness of the issue. Pubs and shops in the area are also warned to be vigilant.
Sgt Sutton added: ‘Sometimes the stores or venues don’t pick it up initially, but when they do their banking a day or two later they realise they have got a fake note. By then we have normally lost any chance of establishing who has handed it over.’