The Bank of England has taken me to task over my article "Can you spot the fakes?" (C-Store, June 26) where retailer Khalid Khawada had had six £20 notes confiscated by a cash and carry. He reckoned that the bank would merely destroy the notes, on the basis that they receive too many to bother investigating.

Here is the bank's reply: "The Bank of England takes the counterfeiting of its banknotes very seriously. One of the Bank's key responsibilities is to maintain confidence in the currency. It does this in several ways.

"First, the Bank is always assessing developments in the banknote production industry with a view to finding new features to enhance the security of our notes.

"Second, the Bank has a close working relationship with law enforcers responsible for counterfeiting issues, and we seek to ensure that all counterfeiters are discovered and punished appropriately.

"Third, the Bank provides free of charge a range of education materials ('Take a closer look') designed to make the job of authenticating banknotes easy, and where possible offers free training to key cash handling groups.

"We provide leaflets and posters which contain a simple checklist of the security features on banknotes: the feel of the paper, the raised print areas, the metallic thread, the watermark, the quality of the printing, the foil features, the ultra-violet features (not on £50s), the microlettering (not on £50s) and the see-through register (on the new-style £20s only). It is essential that more than one feature is checked.

"In addition to education materials, the Bank also has a comprehensive website where you can find out more about the design and security features of our banknotes (www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/index.htm). All of our materials can be ordered online and are generally dispatched within 48 hours.

"Cash handlers in retail and business are the most exposed to counterfeiters. Individuals who knowingly pass counterfeit notes will often attempt to purchase a low-value item with a counterfeit note in the hope of pocketing genuine cash in change. If a retailer suspects he has been given a counterfeit note, the proper procedure is to retain the note, give the customer a receipt containing the retailer's name and address, the customer's name and address and the details of the note. The retailer should hand the note to the police as soon as possible. The police will carry out their own processes before giving the note to the Bank of England for further investigation. If the note is found to be genuine the customer will be reimbursed. However, if the note is counterfeit, he/she will bear the loss as counterfeit notes are worthless."

And, finally, the bank concludes: "Why not make yourself and your staff aware of the banknote security features and 'take a closer look'."

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