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Cocaine found on 99.9% of UK banknotes

Spanish euros also tainted with nose ajax

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Pretty well every banknote in the UK shows traces of cocaine, forensic scientists have claimed. According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, 99.9 per cent of the two billion notes currently in circulation have come into contact with Bolivian marching powder.

Bristol-based company Mass Spec Analytical tested over "1,500 £10 and £20 notes withdrawn from banks in nine separate rural and urban locations". The company also found traces of ecstasy, heroin and cannabis, but "at far lower levels because the substances break down more quickly".

Lead researcher Dr James Carter explained: "Once cocaine is fixed on to a note it tends not to come off. The cocaine particles become caught up in the fibres of each banknote."

The Telegraph fingers plummeting coke prices for the shock findings, coupled to "its image as a celebrity drug". The paper says: "Traditionally associated with high earners, it has become popular among clubbers and even schoolchildren."

The Spanish too, have a growing penchant for nose ajax. According to a recent report in El Mundo, a lab which tested 100 notes "collected in gyms, supermarkets and pharmacies across Spain" found cocaine on 94 per cent of the currency.

Since Spain has a tad over one billion banknotes in circulation, this means that 142 million have been used "directly to snort the drug", as the BBC puts it. El Mundo estimates Spain has 475,000 regular users of charlie.

A 2003 survey in Germany found similar results to the Spanish probe. ®

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