Police are warning shopkeepers in Hartlepool to be careful after a series of reports of counterfeit money.

There have been a number of recent reports of fake £20 notes being used.

The culprits are believed to be targeting smaller businesses like newsagents and convenience stores.

Since 2nd April there have been three instances, with the most recent being reported as taking place yesterday (April 11).

Police guidance about what to do if you receive counterfeit currency:

If the notes have been passed and the suspect is not present, this should be reported via 101, by attending your local police station or online depending on the force area.

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If the suspect is present at the location or still nearby, consideration should be given to contacting the police on 999.

Counterfeit notes should be retained and provided to the police as evidence, ideally inside a plastic wallet or paper envelope to preserve potential fingerprints.

If there is CCTV footage of the suspect available, this should be downloaded and provided to the police together with the counterfeit notes or coins.