By Jason Theodorou
The UK is flooded with fake £1 coins, with over £41 million fake pound coins in circulation and at least one in every 36 pound coins in circulation a fake, according to the Treasury.
The figures were published in a report by Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, in an answer to a Parliamentary question from Andrew Rossindell, a Conservative MP.
The number of counterfeit coins appears to be three times higher in the last decade, when only one in 40 £1 coins were fake. Experts said that the level of fake coins was high enough to impact confidence amongst UK consumers.
Those worst hit by the spate in counterfeiting are small shopkeepers, who are not refunded by banks for counterfeit coins found in their tills.
The Treasury will need to consider whether to remint the £1 coin, which would be an expensive move unpopular with consumers.
Experts said that it has become difficult for consumers in Britain to identify a fake coin, except for when coins are rejected by vending machines which contain technology that scans coins for their level of metal composition. But some fakes are now so effective that they can bypass the tests.
A spokesman for the Treasury said: 'Any level of counterfeiting is a matter of concern and the Government takes it extremely seriously. Maintaining confidence in our currency is of paramount importance and we continue to keep our actions in response to counterfeiting under constant review'.