A MAN who made a series of high-value purchases with suspected counterfeit notes has been arrested after he attempted to flee from England to Belfast.
The 21-year-old was detained as he prepared to board a Belfast-bound ferry at Birkenhead on Sunday.
He has since been arrested on suspicion of possessing counterfeit currency and remains in police custody for questioning.
A search of his vehicle uncovered two large batches of cash, designer clothes and high-value items.
"This is great proactive work from our officers who have managed to remove suspected counterfeit cash from our streets," said Detective Inspector James Coles of Greater Manchester Police's Economic Crime Unit.
The man was detained on Sunday shortly after cameras picked up his car as he entered the Mersey Tunnel heading for Birkenhead.
Almost two weeks earlier, on Monday, June 19, a man purchased items to the value of £250 at a shopping centre in Manchester.
He further attempted to buy a £250 pair of trainers with money suspected to be counterfeit.
Security staff at the shopping complex used CCTV to follow the man's movements through the centre and to his vehicle to obtain a registration plate.
At around 5pm last Sunday, the same vehicle was then spotted on camera as it entered the Mersey Tunnel in Merseyside.
The vehicle then entered the shipping port of Birkenhead, where police stopped it before the driver could board the ferry.
During a search of the vehicle, officers recovered £500 in suspected counterfeit notes, along with designer clothes and high-value items.
Some of the items were believed to have been purchased from multiple different outlets around the north-west of England and were paid for in cash.
Receipts, which had been concealed in a drinks pack, all showed large transactions made in cash.
"I'd like to thank the security staff at the shopping centre for their quick response in obtaining the registration plate of the man's vehicle, this allowed us to track its movements which ultimately led to their arrest." Said DI Coles.
"Using, distributing and creating fake bank notes is illegal and by seizing this cash, officers have been able to prevent it from being used to potentially fund further criminality within the community."
The arrest was made as part of GMP's Operation Notes, which aims to tackle counterfeit currency being used in stores in Manchester.