FAKE banks notes are being used in shops and businesses in Wiltshire that are of such good quality that they pass tests carried out by shop keepers.

Many notes have not been picked up by workers who use a pen with ink that will show up on fake notes. Instead, notes are taken during transactions and rejected by banks further down the line.

The majority of offenders are men aged 19-25 buying low value items with high value notes. They are then given change which is legitimate currency and can be used in other ways.

Incidents have been reported in various shops including, including the Sue Ryder charity shop in Royal Wootton Bassett High Street, BP Service Station in Swindon Road, Royal Wootton Bassett and Nurdens Garden Centre in Crudwell Road, Malmesbury.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “Predominantly, the offenders are young men, aged between 19 and 25 and our enquiries are ongoing to try and identify those responsible.

“On all occasions, large denomination notes are used to buy low value items. The notes are of good quality with some even passing the pen test carried out by shop workers, only to then be rejected by the banks further down the process.

“We are following several lines of enquiry in order to identify those involved and our local Community Policing Team officers have been out engaging with local shops and businesses to help reduce their risk of falling victim to this type of crime. We continue to encourage shop owners to be extra vigilant and to report any incidents to police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.”