England

Plastic £5 notes preview for MetroCentre shoppers

Notes being shown to the public
Image caption People have been given a chance to see and handle the new notes

Shoppers have been given a sneak preview of the plastic £5 note prior to it coming into circulation in September.

Bank of England staff have been showing the new currency to members of the public at Gateshead MetroCentre.

Retailers have also been given advice on how to identify genuine examples.

The redesigned note, which features an image of Winston Churchill, is harder to counterfeit than current ones, which will remain legal tender until May.

Made of polymer produced in Wigton, Cumbria, it is 15% smaller, but also stronger.

'Tatty fivers'

The bank's chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, said: "Bank notes are really important, everyone in the country uses them.

"The key driver is to make sure we keep up with modern technology.

"So although the Bank of England has been producing paper bank notes for 322 years, we're about to move to a new polymer one.

"We believe this gives the best level of security features to make it very difficult to counterfeit.

"Also it stays a lot cleaner and more durable, so no more tatty fivers in your pocket."

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