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Home > Banknotes > Damaged, Mutilated and Contaminated Banknotes

Damaged, Mutilated and Contaminated Banknotes

If you have an accidentally damaged, mutilated or contaminated Bank of England banknote read the following information before completing the application form at the bottom of this page.  For all coin enquiries please contact The Royal Mint on 01443 222 111.

General Information
The Bank of England’s Mutilated Note service exists to reimburse members of the public with the face value of any accidentally damaged, mutilated or contaminated Bank of England banknotes, providing there are sufficient fragments or remains. The Bank currently receives around 23,000 individual applications per year, totalling around £11 million. Despite the high volumes the majority of claims are assessed within a few days.

Application Form
All claimants must complete a Mutilated Notes Claim form (FORM BEMN) and send this, together with all banknote remains, by post (appropriately stamped and at the applicant’s own risk - it is recommended to send higher value claims by Royal Mail Special Delivery) to the Bank of England in Leeds (the address is shown on the form and below). Please note that applications in person are not acceptable. However, in those cases where the damage or contamination (please see below for further guidance on contaminated banknotes) is of such a nature that sending by post is impracticable or could contravene rules regarding the sending of items by post (please visit the Royal Mail website for further information;, applicants should contact the Bank of England in Leeds (tel 0113 241 0075).

Assessment of Claims
The Bank will give reasonable consideration to claims made in respect of banknotes which have been damaged accidentally. A key consideration for the Bank is that we should not knowingly pay out twice on the same banknote. As a general rule, there should be physical evidence of at least half a banknote before payment can be made. If the Bank receives an application where less than half a banknote has been submitted and there is no clear evidence that the corresponding portion of the damaged banknote has been destroyed, it is unlikely that payment will be made.

In limited cases where few or no physical banknote remains are available to assess, but there is clear auditable evidence that genuine notes have been damaged/destroyed, it may still be possible to make a claim. Please phone (0113 236 6825) or email ( as soon as possible after the damage to the banknotes has occurred to request a copy of the guidelines for audit-backed claims.

Successful applications* are reimbursed wherever possible by electronic payment direct to the applicant’s bank account either under reference of “Damaged Banknotes” or by quoting the secure bag/pouch delivery number (if one has been used). In cases where applicants do not have a bank account, there is a section on the application form where an alternative account holder can be nominated.

Contaminated Notes
Contaminated banknotes pose a risk to health and should only be handled by qualified personnel; please telephone 0113 241 0075 for advice if you believe your banknotes are or may be contaminated. Banknotes that have been in contact with a bio-hazard, or any other noxious substance, including hazardous chemicals require specialist handling upon delivery and customers must telephone the Bank of England in Leeds (0113 241 0075) to give advance notice of any contaminated banknote delivery.
Banknotes that have been affected by dye-stain/smoke-dye from anti-theft security devices, ninhydrin (fingerprint chemical), or controlled drugs should also be submitted to the Bank of England in Leeds.
All claimants must complete a Mutilated Notes claim form (FORM BEMN – please see PDF file at the bottom of this page) and send together with the contaminated banknotes to the Bank of England, Leeds. Please ensure FORM BEMN is placed in an envelope inside the bag/pouch to avoid any cross-contamination.
Claims and enquiries about damaged, mutilated and contaminated Bank of England banknotes should be addressed to:-

The Manager, Dept MN,
Bank of England,
King Street,
Tel no. 0113 241 0075

*An appeal process is in place for unsuccessful applications.  Appeals should be forwarded to the Bank's Leeds address as above.