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Number of fake pound coins doubles in a decade

A new study by the Royal Mint has discovered that there are approximately 44 million fake one pound coins in circulation.

Equivalent to three in every 100 pound coins, the figure is an astonishing three million greater than just nine months ago.

This is double the number recorded by the Royal Mint a decade ago.

The revelation has led to fears that the 'entire denomination may be scrapped and re-issued', according to This Is Money and who will foot the bill? The taxpayer.

While of course it is illegal for anyone to use a counterfeit coin, the fakes are so convincing many people won't realise they are doing so. It is not until a coin is rejected in weight-controlled parking or vending machines that a fake is exposed.

With that in mind, a Royal Mint spokesperson has told The Guardian how to recognise a fake coin from the real thing. Counterfeit coins may have discrepancies between dates and designs on either side of the coin, lettering might appear uneven and the milling at the edge of the coin might be "poorly defined".

Additionally, establish whether the coin is 'too shiny' for the date it was allegedly issued - this is a good giveaway.

The spokesperson strongly advised that the public should check their change immediately and then and if there are any doubts, consumers should ask the vendor to swap it for another coin. This is because once the coin has been handed over, it's illegal to spend.

"What you should do is take it to the police," said the spokesperson, "that way we can find out where the hotspots are."

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