Fraudster targets “vulnerable” charity shops with fake £20 notes

PUBLISHED: 11:15 29 March 2018

The Break Charity shop in Bungay.  Picture: Nick Butcher

The Break Charity shop in Bungay. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A fraudster using counterfeit money has targeted a string of charity shops across Beccles and Bungay.

The Sue Ryder charity shop in Bungay.  Picture: Nick ButcherThe Sue Ryder charity shop in Bungay. Picture: Nick Butcher

Shopkeepers are being warned to stay vigilant after the Break Charity shop in Bungay and the British Heart Foundation in Beccles were given fake £20 notes on Monday, March 26.

Charlotte Brand, branch manager of Break Charity which supports vulnerable children, said she was left feeling angry when she realised the store had fallen victim to the scam.

She said: “It is sad that people are picking on a charity that is raising money for people in need.”

The fake notes are extremely convincing and passed through both the counterfeit detecting pen and ultra-violet scanner used in store.

The Break Charity shop in Bungay.  Picture: Nick ButcherThe Break Charity shop in Bungay. Picture: Nick Butcher

However, the forged tender lacks the watermarks located on the real £20 notes.

Miss Brand added: “The volunteer did exactly what she had been asked to do.

“She was left quite hurt and wanted to pay the money herself but it was not her fault.

“The staff at charity shops are often older and vulnerable people and they are being targeted.”

Both the Beccles and Bungay Sue Ryder branches were also targeted but were alerted by staff charity stores across the region.

Manager Joanne Mia: “We were tipped off by our Southwold store so they didn’t get away with it.

“I caught him red-handed trying to pass a fake note to our elderly volunteer.

“I confronted him and he took off.”

Mrs Mia added: “To have our elderly volunteers put in vulnerable situations is horrible.”

A police spokesman said: “Police received various reports of fake £20s being used in shops in the Beccles and Bungay area on March 26.

“In these incidents the suspect is described as a male with an Irish accent, aged in his 30s or 40s and wearing a blue jumper.

“Police are keen to raise awareness among shopkeepers in particular about this incident and would advise businesses to be vigilant and check cash as thoroughly as possible.”

Incidents of fraudulent £20 notes being passed off as the real thing have also been reported at shops in Framlingham, Woodbridge, Leiston, Southwold, Aldeburgh, Gorleston and Harleston.

Anyone with information about the circulation of counterfeit money should contact Suffolk Police on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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