IN the run up to Christmas, Trading Standards officers in Nottinghamshire are stepping up their campaign to seize counterfeit goods.
Undercover officers will be visiting markets and car boot sales across the county, including those in Eastwood and Kimberley, to see if they can spot the fakes.
A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesperson said: “The run up to Christmas is a peak time for sales of fakes including copies of toys, perfumes, DVDs, alcohol, cigarettes and designer clothes and Trading Standards is warning some products may not be all they seem.”
Trading Standards officers adopt an ‘intelligence-led approach’ to tackle the problem of counterfeit goods, responding to information provided by members of the public about where and when fake goods are being sold at local markets, shops, carboot sales and over the internet.
They have been involved in several huge operations in just the last three months – with a designer clothes shop was convicted for selling counterfeit T-shirts, jumpers and jeans; 40 bottles of counterfeit wine being found in an off-licence; potentially lethal chemicals found in bottles of fake brand vodka and 20,000 cigarettes and more than 10kg of rolling tobacco being seized by officers.
And last year a man from Eastwood was jailed for four years for selling fake hair straighteners and designer boots.
Last September Stuart Peach from Eastwood was handed a four year prison sentence for selling the counterfeit goods.
He sold hundred of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit ghd hair straighteners and Ugg boots, using his home in Church Street as a factory to package them.
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire County Council said the illegal business Peach ran perfectly illustrated how selling counterfeit goods was not a victimless crime.
“The straighteners were found to get to dangerously high temperatures,” he added.
“Counterfeit items are not subject to the same rigorous safety checks as genuine products and are usually an inferior quality compared to the genuine items.
“They are also not subject to the same tax duties as genuine products – duty which is used to fund vital public services such as schools and hospitals – and can put legitimate businesses and jobs at risk.”
The spokesman added that the proceeds of counterfeiting operations are often used to fund serious organised crime such as drug and people trafficking.
So to help fight the scourge of counterfeit goods, the council has this week issued advice to people on how to spot a fake.
People should look out for deals too good to be true, beware of products poorly made, look for a safety certification label, inspect the packaging carefully and look at the manufacturers website.
n If you think you have been sold fake goods or know where they are on sale call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.