Counterfeit currency continues to plague Maitland police after fake $50 bills were found across seven individual businesses in a five day period.
From Wednesday, February 28 to Sunday, March 4, fake notes were detected at The Reject Shop Maitland, BWS Rutherford, Toys R Us Rutherford, Priceline Maitland, Caltex Green Hills and Anderson’s Pharmacy at East Maitland.
Forged $50 notes were also found at Woolworths Rutherford on both Saturday and Monday.
Most of the notes weren’t detected until staff were counting the tills later on, prompting police to warn all business people to quickly inspect banknotes, particularly $50 bills, before accepting them.
“It takes two seconds to tell if it’s a fake,” Maitland police officer in charge Chief Inspector Glenn Blain said.
The telltale sign, Inspector Blain said, was the clear window. Recent fake notes handed into police have included obviously drawn-on stars.
Inspector Blain said another thing to look out for is people using $50 to make small purchases. He said criminals often did so in order to get their hands on legitimate currency in the form of change.
Inspector Blain said it was much easier for police to catch the perpetrators if businesses noticed the fake notes straight away.
For example, when a woman tried to use a fake $50 bill at Caltex Green Hills on Friday night a staff member inspected the note and refused to accept it. Inspector Blain said this gave police a specific time to check CCTV footage and identify a suspect.
Police are calling for anyone with information about these incidents to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.