Quick thinking by staff at Peter Wagg’s News on the Wharf stores in London successfully snared a scammer attempting to pass off fake £20 notes.

Wagg told Retail Express: “A staff member in one store turned away the scammer and alerted security and the other stores, the man was then stupid enough to try it in another of our stores just down the road, where staff pressed the silent alarm.”

Following being caught by security, he was arrested with “a significant quantity of counterfeit £20 notes in his possession".

The arrest comes as police and retailers from across the UK have warned of a rise in fraudsters attempting to pass off fake £20 notes.

Police forces in Northern Ireland, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Norfolk, and convenience retailers in London, Cornwall, Nottinghamshire, Edinburgh and Newcastle all detected a spate of incidents involving fake non-polymer £20 notes.

South Norfolk PC Louise Hamilton-Rout said: "It's concerning to hear of these fake notes being circulated and I would ask people to examine cash carefully.”

Lincolnshire PCSO Teresa Key added that at least some of these notes look genuine, even under a UV light. Key said that the fraudsters often take advantage of busy periods when staff may fail to scrutinise them fully.

The Bank of England provides free training material for store owners and their staff. Tips for checking £20 notes include checking for a multi-coloured image of Adam Smith in the foil patches, paper quality and raised printing on ‘Bank of England’ text, UV features, metallic thread, print quality, micro lettering below the Queen and holding the note up to the light to see the irregular sections that make up the large '£' symbol.

Read more: 10 facts you need to know about retail crime in Britain