A total of 260 forged euro banknotes were taken out of circulation in 2020 by authorities in Cyprus, down 43.1 per cent on the previous year and only a minute fraction of the total number of euro banknotes in use, the Central Bank of Cyprus said on Friday.

Of the forged notes that were detected, the largest number at 35.8 per cent, were €50 notes.

“Despite the very small number of forged notes, the Central Bank of Cyprus advises the public to carefully examine the banknotes they are given during cash transactions,” the central bank said.

It added that information as to simple checks to determine whether a euro banknote is genuine can be found on its website and that of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The decline in the number of forged euro notes found in Cyprus was in line with the more general picture.

According to the ECB, last year approximately 460,000 forged euro banknotes were taken out of circulation, down 17.7 per cent on 2019. Of the forged banknotes, €20 and €50 notes represented about two thirds of the total.

The overwhelming majority of the forged euro banknotes, 94.5 per cent, were detected in member states of the eurozone, while 2.8 per cent were found in other EU member states and 2.7 per cent elsewhere in the world.