The response has raised fears that the supposedly tougher, new £5 notes, which were only launched a little over three years ago, are not as hardy as they should be.
The Bank of England has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement trying to reassure Stoke residents and traders.
It said that the hundreds of “phoney” notes are actually genuine money which has suffered “wear and tear”.
The bank added that its experts have examined the notes and found they are damaged rather than fraudulent.
It said that the issue may have been caused by cash going through the washing machine on a high temperature.
A Bank of England spokesman said: “Polymer notes are stronger than paper notes and last longer in usual day-to-day use but they are not indestructible.
“In some cases this has resulted in the foil Elizabeth Tower being removed.
“These notes are damaged genuine banknotes, not counterfeits, and a lot of other security features remain intact such as the Queen’s portrait in the window and the micro-lettering.
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