MANY shops in East Lancashire are likely to defy a deadline to stop accepting old £1 coins, which stop being legal tender this weekend.

A trade organisation representing 170,000 businesses has advised its members to continue taking the round coins, because the changeover period has been so short.

The Federation of Small Businesses says continuing to accept the coins would be a ‘useful community service’ to customers.

Poundland, which has outlets in Accrington and Burnley, was the first retailer to announce it will accept the old coins until October 31 at all stores.

Barry Williams, the discount store chain’s trading director, said it was a ‘no brainer’ to continue to accept the old coins.

Mr Williams added: “Our legal tender extender initiative means our customers have a little extra time to make the most of their money."

The coins will lose their legal tender status on Sunday. With less than a week to go, about 500 million are still in circulation.

From Monday shops will be forbidden from handing out old £1 coins as change and will have the right to refuse to accept them.

The Royal Mint says it wants a ‘clean break’ to avoid confusion. The new coin was introduced in March.