THOUSANDS of pounds of fake money has been discovered in Portsmouth in the past six months, The News can reveal.
About £2,000 in counterfeit notes have been handed in to police in the past six months.
In one case, £500 of fake £20s were handed in to police by Grosvenor Casino at Gunwharf Quays in one go.
And some pubs in Southsea have spotted fake notes, according to Southsea Pubwatch.
Police say cases are rocketing and they are now seeing up to three cases reported a month – while none was reported last year.
Organised gangs targeting the city are thought to be behind some of the counterfeit cash.
Fake cash handed in to police includes various denominations and some Scottish notes.
PC Mark Walsh from Portsmouth’s city centre unit – Hampshire Constabulary’s expert on cheque, cash and card fraud – is working to bring the culprits to justice.
He said: ‘Last year we weren’t dealing with any cases but this year, since January, cases are coming to us every month.
‘Some of them aren’t even reporting it.
‘Businesses might be taking more counterfeit money in but they have got their own procedures.
‘There could be a lot more.
‘From our business community, it’s a marked increase. Maybe because they are trained more and they can recognise it more – there are certainly more reports. We’re getting about two or three cases a month.’
Now the Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership and police are working together to combat the problem.
They have offered businesses training in fake note detection to Bank of England standards and are raising awareness among retailers in a bid to drive down cases in Portsmouth.
Neeta Dhorajia, crime manager for the PBCRP – which has more than 115 members across the city – said: ‘With the problems we have had with the fake £20 notes we set up Bank of England fake note detection training for our members.
‘We had a good turnout and as a result a lot more businesses are noticing fake notes more themselves and are more aware as well, which is really good.’