THOUSANDS of pounds worth of fake cash is in circulation in Accrington.
Detectives have this week foiled a counterfeit cash operation attempting to produce more than £1m of fake coins and notes.
A 45-year-old East Lancashire man is alleged to be the coin maker of the gang, producing £1 and £2 coins from a home-made production plant.
Yasin Patel was arrested last Thursday evening at Birch Service station on the M62 by Lancashire police after they recovered £6,000 worth of counterfeit coins. Following his arrest, properties in Accrington, Blackburn and Rochdale were searched.
He has now been charged with producing counterfeit coins.
The year-long multi-agency investigation was launched after Bank of England experts noted a sudden increase in £1 and £2 coins, as well as 20 and 50 Euro notes.
South Yorkshire Detective Inspector Martin Locking, leading the investigation, said: "This operation has uncovered a significant amount of counterfeit cash and I have no doubts this money found its way on to the streets of Accrington."
Five other people from Yorkshire, Humberside and Norfolk have also been charged for their part in the operation.
So far £100,000 in fake money has been recovered but it is believed thousands more is in circulation.
It is believed a large quantity of coins that were in the middle of being produced were found in Lancashire.
Mr Patel was remanded in custody and will appear before Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday).