THE UK’s new £1 coin, due to be introduced in 2017, has been praised by shoppers and businesses in Swindon.

The design has been billed by the Royal Mint as the most secure coin in the world.

It comes amid concerns about the existing 30-year old coin’s vulnerability to counterfeiting, with an estimated 45 million forgeries in circulation.

The new coin is based on the design of the old threepenny bit, a 12-edged coin in circulation between 1937 and 1971.

A competition will be held to decide what image to put on the tail side of the coin.

Ilpa Patel, manager at Victoria News in Victoria Road, keeps a collection of the counterfeit coins customers have tried to con her with.

“At first sight you think it’s a 50p coin or something similar,” she said of the new design.

“There are so many fraudulent ones going about at the minute and some of them are really good. But many of the pound coins are darker in colour and some of them are even painted gold.

“They have to do something to stop the crime. This new design will help.

“But the car park machines and post office will have to change all the technology they use, which creates extra cost unfortunately.”

Rhianna Kidd, 18, a student at New College, said: “I love the design. It’s so much better than the old one.

“The two different colours look great and it looks larger, which makes it easier to find.

“It will definitely be of benefit to people.

“The coin needed updating. It will be worth it because it’s going to take people time to get the copies of it right.”

Roofer Paul Skinner, 63, of Fairford, said: “I actually quite like it. It’s something a bit different.

“The Mint has always got to be one step ahead of the crooks, so if this is what they need to do, then they should.”

Ian MacDonald, 23, a software developer of Morse Street, said: “It’s different I suppose. I’m not used to it really.

“As a libertarian I’m not a fan of forced change. I don’t think it will stop counterfeit money in the long-term.

“I’m not sure of the economical advantages of doing it.”

The Royal Mint has not said how much it will cost to make the new coins, but it says £2m has so far been invested in developing the new security techniques used on the machines.

Andrew Mills, head of circulation for the Mint, said 90 per cent of the changes were likely to be straightforward, and cost around £10 to £12 per machine, and that cost of changing all the machines in the country is likely to be between £15 and £20m.

But the British Parking Association said just changing parking machines could cost £50m.

The Automatic Vending Association’s chief executive Jonathan Hilder added: “It is imperative that the vending industry works with all the other parties to ensure that the security and implementation can be undertaken at the lowest possible cost to industry due to its large legacy machine base. The AVA supports the development of a new coin which is more secure than its predecessor and can incorporate new technologies in the future and works through the existing machine base at minimal cost.”