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Counterfeit cash total in the millions

The total volume of counterfeited money taken out of circulation since 2003 has been revealed.

It was during parliamentary questions that MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell asked new economic secretary to the treasury Chloe Smith just how much counterfeit cash had been seized.

Whilst the original question was regarding the total since 1997, Smith noted that figures only went back as far as 2003, although added that an estimate could even put the number of forged notes and coins at 1 per cent of all the cash in circulation at the time.

Since 2003, however, the number of fake pound coins removed from circulation were said to have a face value of £6.5 million, proving extremely expensive for businesses without proper cash management.

When asked on individual years, Smith noted the huge fluctuations, giving the example of just 84,500 fakes removed in 2005/06, compared to 1,973,000 in 2009/10. So far this year, the total of fake pound coins is already at 1,376,436.

Where forged notes are concerned, the figure is understandably higher.

Just last year alone, a total of £5.9 million worth of counterfeited bank notes were seized; a total of 300,000 individual £5s, £10s, £20s and £50s, The Press Association claims.

By far the most forged of all the notes, however, is the £20, offering maximum return if passed off efficiently, but not being subjected to the same level of scrutiny that the relatively uncommon £50 note is.