Instances of counterfeits of the new polymer £5 and £10 banknotes

We publish details of a selection of requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and the information we disclose in response.

Date: 12 June 2019

Disclosure:

‘1) The number of recorded instances of counterfeits of the new plastic £5 note to date (if possible, could this info be broken down by tax year or another suitably similar timeframe?)

2) The number of recorded instances of counterfeits of the new plastic £10 note design to date (if possible, could this info be broken down by tax year or another suitably similar timeframe?)’

In respect of question 1, the number of recorded instances of counterfeits of the new £5 polymer note design since its launch in September 2016 is 46. In respect of question 2, the number of recorded instances of counterfeits of the new £10 polymer note design since its launch in September 2017 is 63.

To put these figures in context, there were 284 million polymer £5 notes and 1,022 million polymer £10 notes in circulation at the end of April 2019 and most of the counterfeits were of a very poor quality that would be easily identifiable by members of the public.

‘3) If held, comparative figures for – on average - how many recorded instances of counterfeits of the old paper £5 notes you received each month before the note went out of circulation.

4) If held, comparative figures for – on average - how many recorded instances of counterfeits of the old paper £5 notes you received each month before the note went out of circulation.’

In respect of question 3, we have provided monthly data for the number of counterfeits of the old series paper notes from the launch of the £5 polymer banknote (September 2016) to when the £5 Fry paper banknote ceased to be legal tender on 7 May 2017. In respect of question 4, we assume you mean £10 and have therefore provided monthly data for the number of counterfeits of the old series of paper notes  from the launch of the £10 polymer banknote (September 2017) to end-February 2018 as the £10 Darwin paper banknote ceased to be legal tender on 1 March 2018. Figures are provided in the table below.

Year Month £5 £10
2016 September 116   
  October 140   
  November 122   
  December 81  
2017 January 201  
  February 72  
  March 73  
  April 52  
  May 61  
  June    
  July    
  August    
  September   2,546
  October   2,889
  November   1,868
  December   1,352
2018 January   1,388
  February   996

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