Shoppers warned against buying fake goods as counterfeit items seized at ports
Shipping crates were monitored using a large X-ray machine to check the items inside matched the manifest.
Counterfeit goods including more than £1.5 million worth of Calvin Klein underpants are among thousands of fake items seized by Border Force officers in the run-up to Christmas.
Shoppers are being warned against buying fake goods as they hunt for bargains during the festive season.
Among the items seized at UK ports and airports in recent weeks were 82,320 Calvin Klein underpants worth approximately £1.5 million and 1,440 Superdry hoodie tops worth approximately £100,000 at Southampton port.
Also found at the Hampshire port were 450 counterfeit Dyson fans and Apple chargers worth approximately £182,500 and 2,112 Spiderman, Pokemon and Hello Kitty hand-held fans worth approximately £31,680.
Some 16,000 Gillette Mach 3 razor blades worth approximately £143,840 were seized at Heathrow Airport and 1,530 Pandora charms worth approximately £45,900 at Manchester Airport.
A total of 379 Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund football shirts were found at Dover Port worth approximately £16,149 and 48 pairs of Nike Vapormax trainers worth approximately £5,760 were found at Manchester Airport.
Also, during a two-day operation held at East Midlands Airport in November, Border Force officers seized 5,767 items with an estimated retail value of £2.6 million.
Among these were 485 Louis Vuitton, Diesel, Hublot and Bulgari watches worth approximately £1.4 million and 2,428 pairs of Nike trainers, football tops and tracksuits worth approximately £251,000.
Immigration minister Brandon Lewis said: “The international trade in counterfeits is linked to serious and organised crime and undercuts honest traders, damaging our economy.
“Customers are also left out of pocket with inferior and potentially dangerous goods.
“We are determined to crack down on this criminality and have Border Force officers working 24 hours a day at ports, airports and mail sorting centres to identify and seize counterfeits.”
Sean Gigg, Border Force higher officer at Southampton Dock, said shipping crates were monitored using a large X-ray machine to check the items inside matched the manifest.
He said: “We are finding everything from counterfeit fans to counterfeit underpants, toys, cosmetics, watches, it’s anything that a counterfeiter can counterfeit.
“Naturally at Christmas we are going to see a lot more counterfeits being intercepted simply because of the supply and demand in the UK.
“To the average person it’s very important because you do not know what you are buying, you think you are buying a genuine product but it’s not really, it’s a counterfeit product that hasn’t been tested for safety standards.
“So, an electrical item you could plug in and it could set on fire for instance or it could have small movable parts that could fall off and choke a small child.”
Seized items are destroyed and the rights holders can then decide whether to privately prosecute the importers.
Border Force South director Sue Young said: “Counterfeiters will look to capitalise and cash in where there is a demand for a product.
“We urge consumers to be careful with their purchases. If the price appears too good to be true, either at a car boot sale, a market stall or online, it probably is.”