Shoppers and shop owners of Midlothian have been told to be vigilant after local police discovered evidence of counterfeit cash being spread around the Scottish county.
Officers have heard reports of fake banknotes being passed around shops in the Loanhead, which has immediately put local businesses on alert.
Midlothianadvertiser.co.uk says 12 counterfeit Royal Bank of Scotland £20 notes have been handed over to the town's retailers over the last few weeks, with all but one of these used to purchase goods.
All of the transactions went ahead without initial detection, which highlights the need for retailers to ensure the authenticity of each note is checked.
PC Frances Little said they need to inspect the notes for tell-tale signs of fakery.
"There is a significant difference in quality compared to genuine notes, nonetheless they have been successfully passed on a number of occasions and we are warning shop owners and staff to be vigilant," he told eastlothiancourier.com.
PC Little advised the use of counterfeit banknote detection pens for a cost-effective solution, also urging business to check paper quality, print quality and the metallic security thread on each note.
"If anyone suspects they have been handed a fake note, then they should seize it and contact the police. It is a criminal offence to hold or pass a note that you know to be counterfeit," he added.