A town's currency has shot up in value by 3,000% only days after its launch because collectors are selling it on the internet.

Yesterday bids for one Lewes Pound on auction site eBay had reached £30.

The group behind the scheme has criticised those selling the currency online.

Oliver Dudok van Heel, of the Lewes Pound Group, said the group was looking at selling the notes directly to collectors through its website at between £3 and £5.

He said: “It’s outrageous. People are abusing the system and taking advantage.

“We are going to tackle this problem by selling the notes at a premium with an official letter to try and stop them going on eBay.

“There is nothing illegal about selling them on eBay but it’s not in the spirit of things.

“If you spend them in town it increases the worth of the local economy.

“People holding on to them and wanting to send them to friends is understandable but to try and sell them on eBay is opting out of the Lewes economy.”

Collector Steve Hughes, owner of the Brighton Coin Company, said: “The supply of the note is limited, so if it does catch on as a unique collectors’ item it will be a scarce item.

“There won’t be that many available so that’s the basis of the price.

“You cannot predict what things will be popular and which won’t.

“I’ll suggest that this won’t be, after an initial blip. I can’t really see there is going to be a collectors’ fraternity for such a limited item.

“Things cannot be too rare in terms of demand because if they are then collectors cannot buy any to support the price.

“Quite often when something new comes on to the market there is a little blip but then it evens off.”

Except for 500 reserve notes, all 10,000 Lewes Pound notes were sold in two days.

They are designed to keep wealth in the town as more than 70 Lewes traders accept the note.

Mr Dudok van Heel added more will be issued in the future.

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