By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Counterfeiters with a spelling problem have given Ireland the dubious distinction of being the first country in the 12-nation euro-zone to discover a forged 1 euro coin.
Gardai have issued a forgery alert after the discovery of the coin and further counterfeit notes. A day after the issue of the new currency on Jan. 1, one of the first forged euro notes also turned up in Ireland.
The fake euro, with the “o” missing from the word euro stamped on the coin, was successfully passed in a shop in Castleblayney on Jan. 12.
Gardai said the coin might look genuine if just given a cursory glance.
“It is pretty obvious when you look closely at it,” police said. “Apart from the missing “o” in euro, it also has no serration on the edge.”
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They are a bit puzzled about who took the trouble to make the coin. “With a 1 euro denomination, you’d wonder what the motive was. It is not as if you are going to get a huge return.”
The 1 euro coin is equal to 79 pence in the outgoing currency.
Four forged 50 euro notes have also turned up. One was passed in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, on Jan. 5 and the other three were passed in a Dublin pub on Jan. 12.
There is no silver foil down the center of the notes, no hologram and the silver foil on the right hand side is a blue color.
“These opportunist criminals tend to look for a busy premises where huge transactions are going on to pass these forgeries on,” police said.
Garda said people should take the time to familiarize themselves with the security features on the new currency and take time to check all their notes and coins.
The first forgery was a 10 euro note passed in a shop in Staffan, Co. Kildare, on Jan. 2.
No more turned up and gardai said they believed children using a colored photocopier or computer publishing package may have been responsible for the forgery, which they described as “very crude.”
“At this stage we are not speculating about who might be responsible for the forged 50 euro notes. We are just warning the public that they are out there,” the spokeswoman said.