Man arrested for using £100 coin in Tesco wins £5k compensation – Liverpool Echo

A man has won £5,000 in damages after he was arrested for trying to use a £100 coin.

Brett Chamberlain attempted to pay for his petrol with the legal tender at a Tesco garage in July 2020.

However, staff at the supermarket’s Exeter Vale branch refused to accept the Royal Mint coin and phoned police – as Devon Live reports.

READ MORE: 50p coin sells for £170 with thousands more in circulation

Brett said: “You can buy the RM coins for around £80 online, and so when I go to fill up £100 in fuel using the coin, I’m making a bit of a profit on it.

“So I went and filled up with diesel, put my £100 coin on the counter, they refused to accept it.

“They phoned the police who then told me I could either fill out the ‘no means to pay’ agreement or I would be arrested.”

He continued: “I refused to fill out the form as I did have legal means to pay. I recorded the whole thing, and in the end the police arrested me.”

The £100 coin is legal tender in accordance with the Coinage Act 1971 – and Brett estimates he has made a profit of around £2,000 by paying for fuel using the coins.

He said: “I am not a coin collector, but it all started a while back after I found a load of coins whilst metal detecting.

“Admittedly, they were a bit tarnished but they are all legal tender coins and current.”

However, this incident is not the only time the 52-year-old carpenter has encountered problems with the coins.

He added: “And so I decided to test them by filling up with diesel. Tesco refused to accept them.

“Anyway, the police turned up just like last year, and said that I had to fill out the form or they would arrest me.

“That annoyed me and so I went away and did some research and found that actually, I am right. It’s not okay that police would threaten to arrest me for using the Queen’s money.

“The petrol stations are obliged to accept it, they have no legal recourse to refuse it and claim that I didn’t pay.

“So really it was a bit of an experiment.

“The county’s biggest retailer Tesco, with the police, the Queen and the Royal Mint, it seemed to me to be an interesting conundrum.

“So again, I went down to Tesco, filled up £100 exactly, put my £100 coin on the counter and they refused to accept.”

Brett says that a similar thing happened again on this occasion as the police turned up – but this time they confiscated the coin and sent it away to RM who confirmed it was genuine.

He said: “I contacted Trading Standards and they said write a letter of complaint to Tesco Head Office.

“Tesco came back saying they do accept it in its petrol stations by means of ‘commemorative’ coins including the £100 denomination.”

Brett says this is why he was so surprised at how the police handled the situation when he was arrested in July 2020 despite the fact he was offering to pay with legal tender.

Brett recorded the exchange with the police officer, before he was placed under arrest on suspicion of “making off without payment”.

Brett said: “No further action was taken. Around 6-months later I then took civil action and received £5,000 in compensation.”

Following the incident, Devon and Cornwall Police have said in a statement that the force had: “Considered all the complaints raised and have taken steps to recognise and rectify the issues raised in this case.”

Tesco said in a statement: “Although commemorative coins are classified as legal tender, they are not considered to be circulating legal tender – which must be accepted in businesses and banks.

“For this reason, retailers are not obliged to accept them as a form of payment – it is at their discretion and our Tesco Exeter Vale store decided not to accept commemorative coins.”

Want to find out the latest news in your area? Enter your postcode on our In Your Area page here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *