TRADERS in Frinton are warning other shop owners about a scammer targeting the town with counterfeit banknotes

A suspect, described as a middle-aged man, is thought to have visited multiple shops, trying to pay with fake £50 notes. 

A business owner has turned to social media to make others aware of the issue after some were fooled by the fake notes. 

David Foster, chairman of the Frinton Chamber of Commerce, said: "It brings the red flag up when people go in with a £50 note to buy something. 

"We haven't had that for a long time. Usually, it's £20 notes and £10 notes, but not £50 notes.

"That's just asking for trouble."

He recommended that business owners stay calm when they encounter a fake note.

"Usually a shopkeeper would say that they haven't got facilities for changing £50 notes as they might not have enough money," he said.

"If somebody isn't comfortable with it, they would just tell them and say 'I'm sorry, but I don't accept £50 notes'."

Shopkeepers have reportedly been targeted in Frinton, Walton, Harwich, Little Clacton, Clacton, Thorpe-le-Soken and St Osyth.

Clair Jackson, who owns Mia Boutique in High Street, Thorpe-le-Soken, realised quickly that she was the target of a scam. 

“He came into Mia Boutique on Saturday afternoon wanting to purchase a hat for £14.95 with a £50 note,” she said. 

“We have a UV money checker. When he noticed I was checking the note he became agitated and quite pushy, stating he had just had a payout from the bookies.  

“He said he was a black cab driver, and it was a real note and that it had the UV 50 on the note, which it did. 

“But the 50 showed up in a dotted style and on a real £50 note, the 50 is a solid number lighting up under the light. 

“Then I checked the wording, which said ‘Poonds’ and not ‘Pounds’. I told him I was not happy to accept the note. 

“He grabbed it and said it’s fine, he’ll get some change from the misses and come back. 

“I then got a message from a couple of friends - one is a salon owner and a florist - saying he had tried their shops also.” 

Essex Police said shop owners who have encountered a similar situation are urged to get in touch with officers to report suspicious incidents as soon as possible.