Posted: Fri 11th Aug 2017

Police issue warning over counterfeit Royal Bank of Scotland £20 notes circulating Prestatyn and Rhyl

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

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Police are advising shopkeepers to be aware of counterfeit currency being tendered, following incidents in the Prestatyn and Rhyl areas.

The incidents have been reported over the past week where counterfeit Royal Bank of Scotland £20 notes have been offered.

Designing Out Crime officer David Williams said:

“Although counterfeit currency is rare, we are asking businesses to be particularly mindful when such notes are tendered and to raise awareness of these incidents with their respective staff.”

“As counterfeit notes pose no monetary value, by raising vigilance this will assist in ensuring businesses are not at a financial loss.

Such notes can be part of organised criminal activity and each note will be treated as evidence towards the bigger picture.”

Counterfeit banknotes: How to spot them

The Royal Bank of Scotland is one of three banks in Scotland who issue their own banknotes. We advise that when trying to authenticate a banknote, you should 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. Instead 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 at least one of them is a counterfeit


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.


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 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


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 RBS banknotes is in raised print


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.  We recommend that you 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’

What to do if you find yourself in possession of a counterfeit banknote:

If you have a banknote that you believe to be counterfeit, and you know for sure who gave you the note, you should take it immediately to the police for investigation.

It is a criminal offence to hold or pass on a banknote that you know to be counterfeit.

If you do not know who gave you the banknote you are required to take it to any local branch of the affected bank of issue.

The bank will complete a “Retention of Counterfeit Currency Form” and give you a copy for your records.

The Bank will then authenticate the banknote before forwarding all counterfeits to the National Crime Agency for analysis.

Counterfeit banknotes are worthless therefore no reimbursement will be given unless the banknote submitted is subsequently found to be genuine.

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