Massive hauls of fake goods seized at UK borders
Festive shoppers are being warned to be on alert for fake goods after it emerged massive hauls are being intercepted at Britain's borders.
Aftershave, cuddly toys, trainers, scarves and Harry Potter wands are among items seized by Border Force in the weeks before Christmas.
More than 83,000 items were confiscated at airports in a single operation across six days earlier this month.
Other recent seizures at UK ports and hubs, with an estimated value of more than £1 million, include: 900 fake Burberry scarves; 100 Harry Potter wands and 3,000 counterfeit Pokemon, Nintendo and Minecraft cuddly toys; 137 fake Louis Vuitton handbags; 300 fake Sony PlayStation PS3 controllers; and 941 pairs of fake Nike Air Max trainers.
The details were released by the Government as authorities warned festive shoppers against buying counterfeit items as last-minute presents.
Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said: "The international trade in counterfeit goods undercuts honest traders, and is linked to serious and organised crime, sweatshop working practices, child labour, and even the funding of terrorism.
"Unsuspecting customers are also left out of pocket with inferior and potentially dangerous goods.
"We are determined to crack down on this criminality and Border Force officers help protect consumers by working around the clock at ports, airports and mail sorting centres identifying and seizing counterfeit goods."
Once items are seized, Border Force's specialist international trade teams work with the owners of big brands to establish whether or not goods are genuine.
If they are fake, the items are destroyed and the rights holders can then decide whether to privately prosecute the importers.
Matthew Cope, of the Intellectual Property Office, said: "We have worked with Border Force and rights holders at borders across the UK to intensify our efforts in targeted pre-Christmas activity.
"We have detained goods destined for shops and markets, proving the worth of the co-ordinated approach. It is important that we have a united response and that people are protected from this type of crime.
"Anyone looking for a bargain this Christmas should be wary of prices which look too good to be true, from cut price alcohol to heavily discounted electronics, and report anything suspicious."