SHOPPERS converted more than £1,000 into Stroud Pounds at the official launch of the local currency on Saturday.

The project, which aims to help tackle the recession and cut carbon emissions, allows people to use special banknotes to buy goods and services from participating businesses.

Dr Molly Scott Cato, a director of the Stroud Pound Co-operative, which manages the scheme, said: "The launch has been great, people have been very positive."

The Stroud Pound was launched outside Stroud Valleys Project in Threadneedle Street.

There were talks by local currency expert Dr Peter North, of Liverpool University, and Dr Scott Cato, before the four note designs were unveiled.

Laurie Lee’s widow Kathy revealed the £10 note featuring the writer.

Shoppers were then able to buy the currency and organisers also handed out a total of £24 in £1 notes.

John Rhodes, 54, a classic car enthusiast from Painswick, also tried to sell a 1975 Rover V8 for 1,700 Stroud Pounds.

The currency, which will continue to be sold at SVP on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm, can be spent at stores displaying the teasel logo.

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