A NUMBER of Alan Shearer £20 notes were seized by trading standards officers concerned they would be passed off as legal tender.

The Shearer notes, along with others featuring Michael Owen, Johnny Depp and Snow White, were sold at a car boot sale.

Gateshead Council officers were concerned unscrupulous drinkers would fold them in half and use them in busy pubs.

A council spokesman said: "The £20 notes looked and felt like real bank notes, but closer inspection showed that the Queen's head had been substituted with a wide range of images - including Michael Owen, film actors and cartoon characters.

"The notes were promptly seized because their design constituted a breach of trademark or copyright."

Sheila Johnston, the council's director of development and enterprise, said: "On the face of it, these are just a bit of fun - but it's doubtful whether the owners of these images would share that view.

"Companies such as Disney and Warner Brothers take the protection of their copyright very seriously indeed but, in fact, anyone who owns an image or a logo, no matter how big their company, has a right to expect that it will not be used inappropriately and without their permission.

"These notes look just like real bank notes when they are folded in two and we are very concerned that some people may be conned into accepting them as legal tender."