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First euro forgeries found

MAINZ, Germany -- A German man stuck together two photographs of a 500 euro note back-to-back and spent it in a casino, in the second forgery to come to light since the launch of the currency.

He handed over the crude forgery and got almost 1,000 German marks ($450) in coins in return, a police spokeswoman in the city of Mainz near Frankfurt told Reuters.

The cashier had asked her manager for authority to change the note. Police are still looking for the man, believed aged 25 to 30, who made the fake by cutting out life-size photographs from an information leaflet about the euro.

"All other euro notes pictured in the leaflet were on a smaller scale than the original, only the photo of the 500 euro note was life size," said the spokeswoman.

CNN's Richard Quest reports people in Frankfurt, Germany, are slowly but surely adapting to using the new Euro currency (January 1)

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Earlier on Thursday, German police said a 12-year-old girl had found a fake 50 euro note and handed it in to them.

Police said the girl spotted the note on a train on Wednesday. "She noticed it was a forgery because it did not have any of the security features," a spokesman for the police in Siegburg, western Germany, told Reuters.

"Apparently it was not very good, but it was printed on both sides which is better than some forgeries you get."

He said the girl had sat down on the local train travelling from Cologne to the town of Troisdorf when she spotted the note on the opposite seat. She took it to her mother who handed it to the police 25 minutes later.

"She was pleased at first but realised it was counterfeit," the spokesman said. The regional central bank for North Rhine-Westphalia, a division of the German central bank, had been notified.

In publicity, the European Central Bank has highlighted the security features of euro notes and coins, saying the currency was among the most forgery-proof in the world.

But EU officials have urged people in the 12 euro zone countries to be vigilant.

The new euro notes have security features including a hologram foil strip, a printed image which changes when viewed from different angles, a watermark and a security thread.

The police spokesman said the girl would not be getting a reward.


• Europeans start spending euros
January 1, 2002
• Europe's leaders hail new currency
January 1, 2002
• Black money: Spain's 'euro effect'
December 31, 2001

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