Each of the notes had the same serial number

A Newport labourer has been jailed after going on a spending spree with a wad of fake £50 notes.

James Webley, from Barry, told police he had received the notes for doing cash-in-hand work for a group of Irish travelers. On the morning of 22nd January, he tried to spend the funny money at JD Sports, River Island and Primark - all within the space of around 45 minutes!

Store staff soon grew wise, however. Panicking when an assistant asked her manager to check one of the notes, Webley insisted he was in a hurry.

Prosecutor John Warren told Cardiff Crown Court that Webley “ran off” when confronted by a security guard, but the police soon caught up.

Upon being arrested, the 24 year old asked: “How am I supposed to know they’re fake?”

Well James, it should have been kind of obvious:

  • Every note had the same serial number

  • None of the notes had holograms or foil strips

  • According to a retail assistant who dealt with him, the paper was too thick

via GIPHY

It certainly didn’t help that this was not James’ first offence. Prosecutors heard that he had tried a similar stunt in May last year, when he tried to spend a fake Scottish £50 note at a Costa Coffee.

Webley also had 18 previous convictions for crimes including shoplifting and burglary.

The young man admitted to four counts of using counterfeit money. Defender Suzan Payne claimed that his earlier crimes occurred at a point when he “was much younger and a lot less mature.”

Putting it bluntly, Recorder Caroline Rees QC said: “You were going from shop to shop with counterfeit notes”.

Webley was handed an immediate sentence of 15 months in prison. The offending notes will be destroyed.

In all seriousness, actually getting paid in fake notes probably isn't something you want to experience. You can buy money checker pens for around £2, so think about having one handy for if you ever agree to take payment in cash.

You can find out more about fake notes on the Bank of England website.

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