Four men have been arrested in connection with counterfeit bank notes after charities and businesses across a number of areas, including Banbridge and Dromore were targetted.
Locals have described the scam as ‘disgraceful’, condemning it for defrauding not just businesses but also two charity shops, one in Banbridge and the other in Dromore, who they point out ‘have the sole goal to make money to help those in need’.
Congratulating the quick action of police officers, Councillor Seamus Doyle said: “Obviously I am pleased that the police have apprehended people in connection with these offences.”
“The police have made a number of arrests recently in connection with a variety of criminal activities in our area including drugs related issues, so it’s obvious they are doing a lot of work to round up and catch these elements.
“It is hard enough for shops to survive without these sort of problems hitting them and as for targeting charity shops - these criminals were probably just looking for a soft touch.”
Urging people to continue to be vigilant, Councillor Doyle continued: “I would just appeal for anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it to the police straight away.
“Don’t be tempted to wait to report it or leave it to the next day to do something about it. Do it straight away, for this way the police are best able to take action and catch criminals.”
Men, aged 20, 22, 31 and 45 years-old, were arrested in Newtownards after police officers on patrol in the High Street area of the town observed a black Chrysler 300C acting suspiciously and stopped the vehicle on the afternoon of Thursday, November 27.
The men are currently assisting police with their enquiries.
Earlier in the day police had received reports of fake Ulster Bank £20 notes being passed in a number of shops by men who were attempting to buy small value items for around £1, handing over the fake note and receiving change before leaving the shop.
Shops and businesses in Ballynahinch, Moira, and Newtownhamilton were also targeted in the scam on November 27, and in Toomebridge the culprits tried to buy a bottle of Fanta from a cafe.
Anyone with information in relation to these incidents can contact police in Banbridge on the 101 number.
If you prefer to provide information without giving your details you can contact the independent Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.