Police have arrested a man believed to part of gang responsible for producing more than £1m worth of counterfeit £1 and £2 coins.

A man believed to be a major player in the gang has been arrested, and more than £6,000 of fake coins seized from his home-made production plant in Kingsway, Rochdale.

Police also found melted metal and hi-tech electro-plating equipment at the house of another gang-member and more fake coins worth more than £15,000. A large haul of fake coins in the making were also seized.

The investigation was launched after Bank of England experts noted a sudden increase in £1 and £2 coins in circulation.

Four other people from Yorkshire, Humberside and Norfolk have also been arrested following the year-long investigation by police forces across the country and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

The Royal Mint has produced a guide to help retailers recognise fake coins. Common features include: The date and design on the reverse not matching, the lettering on the edge of the coin not corresponding to the right year, the milled being poorly defined and the colouring appearing more shiny than usual.

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