GARDAI have revealed that thousands of euro of fake €50 notes are in circulation after detectives smashed a highly sophisticated counterfeit notes operation earlier this week.
Three men have been charged in relation to the bust after they were arrested by armed gardai last Sunday allegedly with €20,000 in fake notes.
Yesterday, gardai put some of the seized notes as well as a specialised Heidelberg industrial printing press on display to the media as they warned that there is a sizeable quantity in circulation around the country.
It is estimated that more than €2m worth of high quality counterfeit notes were seized last weekend in Summerhill, Co Meath, in an operation led by the Special Detective Unit.
Gardai said that notes to the value of €120,000 were ready to be used, with the rest of the fake cash still in sheets. Gardai also found four cardboard boxes containing sheets of paper with four counterfeit €50 notes on each, ready for cutting.
There were 2,500 sheets found in each box, bringing the value of the fake notes in each box to €500,000, or €2m combined.
A senior source said: “This was very high quality stuff, it looks right and if you touch it, it feels right.
“But these notes do not have a watermark.
“Gardai are advising that all high end cash businesses be on the look out for these €50 notes especially pubs and nightclubs or any business that operates where the lighting in the premises is not very bright.”
Yesterday Supt Dave Taylor said: “If you were using an ultraviolet light behind the counter of a business taking cash and you checked the watermark on these, they would pass that test; they'd look genuine.
“We're concerned that notes of this quality are being manufactured.”