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Gold arrows miss target as locals get wise to duds

Bungling counterfeiters hit wrong note

By Staff Reporter

THE bad news for local shops and businesses? West Belfast has been hard-hit by the biggest influx of counterfeit notes seen in the city in ten years. The good news? The dud £20 notes are easy to spot.

Many local shops, pubs and clubs have been hit in the pocket in recent weeks by the new flood of counterfeit cash. But they’ve quickly learned their lesson and a key manufacturing flaw in the dodgy notes are making them increasingly difficult for criminals to pass.

On genuine Ulster Bank £20 notes four gold arrows are embossed on the paper underneath the main ‘TWENTY POUNDS’ lettering. It’s a safety device that the counterfeiters have been unable to replicate and so they have merely stencilled the four gold arrows on top, obscuring the ‘N’ and the ‘D’. It means the notes can be detected in a flash at tills and without the use of forgery-detecting equipment.

A local source told us that the notes are being distributed in the West of the city by a former ONH prisoner who’s asking £100 for £500 worth of forgeries.

“They look quite good and they feel quite good,” said our source, “but the four gold arrows is an immediate giveaway. They either didn’t have the technical expertise to do the arrows right or they couldn’t be bothered.”

One angry shopowner who was stung for £80 last weekend said he’d be instructing his staff on how to spot the latest forgeries.

‘That should take all of two seconds,” he said. “The damage was done in the past few weeks when people didn’t know what to look for, but I reckon that’s the last we’ll be seeing of these particular notes. The criminals selling these notes are leeching off the back of the community at a time when businesses are already finding it tough. But at least we know now what to look for. Anybody who pays one pence for £500 of these, never mind £100, must be off his rocker. They’re so easily spotted they won’t even be able to do the old trick of trying to pass them in a busy bar at one o’clock in the morning.”

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