Suky Singh, who runs Coca-Cola Shop in Wolverhampton, rang for advice on taking Scottish and Northern Irish notes. He had had a fairly aggressive customer offering him two fivers marked Bank of Ireland.

In short, Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes are not ‘legal tender’ in England and Wales, says the Bank of England. Furthermore, Bank of England banknotes are only legal tender in England and Wales. But the term legal tender has a very narrow technical meaning in relation to the settlement of debt. “If a debtor pays in legal tender the exact amount he/she owes under the terms of a contract (and in accordance with its terms), or pays this amount into court, he/she has good defence in law if he/she is sued for non-payment of the debt.”

In ordinary everyday transactions, this isn’t really relevant. It is between you and your customer. If both parties are in agreement, Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes can be used in England and Wales and vice-versa. Holders of genuine Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes are provided with a level of protection similar to that provided to holders of Bank of England banknotes. They are all backed up in pukka fashion.

Many retailers won’t accept banknotes from outside their own ‘turf’ because they may not be able to tell if they are fake or not.I also know retailers who refuse large denominations on the basis that they don’t see enough of them to spot the real deal.