AN UNCLE who wanted to give his niece a new £50 note as a gift was told by “Scrooge” Lloyds TSB to pay a £5 administration charge.

Teacher Arthur Williams, 59, from Willaston, visited several Wirral banks looking for a crisp £50 note for niece Stephanie Williams, 15, as he was planning to frame it and put it in a card for her at Christmas.

He visited several banks in Upton and Heswall who only had older notes before visiting Lloyds TSB in West Kirby, who had a new note.

“I was just about to hand over two twenties and a ten to the gentleman behind the counter, when a senior assis-tant stepped in and said they couldn’t make the exchange without charging a five pound administration fee, and that it was company policy,” said Mr Williams.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was absolutely dumbfounded.

“It was not like the bank was busy. Perhaps that I could understand, but it was Christmas Eve and the place was empty. So I just said ‘and a merry Christmas to you too,’ and left the bank.

“For 15 years I had been away at sea, and now I won’t budge at Christmas as it is very special to me.

“I just wanted to give my niece something nice.

“I knew at 15 she would prefer the money and I’m not sure she had even seen a new fifty pound note before.

“Needless to say, she seemed just as happy with two twenties and a ten.

“But I just think it was quite ridiculous of the bank and it struck me as very Ebenezer Scrooge of them.”

A spokeswoman for Lloyds TSB said: “Because the gentleman was not a customer we had to apply the standard administration charge for money changing.

“Any Lloyds TSB customer can of course change money at our branches free of charge.”