March 7 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Border Force officers have seized counterfeit goods thought to be worth more than £2 million at the Port of Felixstowe this year, it has emerged.
Hundreds of boxes ranging from fake perfume, shoes and clothing to mobile phone accessories have been recovered.
Among the haul were 256 cartons of Gucci and Adidas branded clothing worth an estimated £1,731,000 and 3,888 bottles of Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera and Gucci perfume valued at a combined £226,348.
Meanwhile 1,045 fake mobile phone covers branded Hello Kitty, Chanel, Spiderman and Transformers understood to be worth a total of £18,890 were also seized.
Officials have used the disclosure to warn people to be especially wary of buying counterfeit goods during the festive period with criminals more likely to target Christmas shoppers.
Kevin Sayer, a member of Border Force based in Felixstowe, said: “Criminals’ attempts to smuggle counterfeit goods in to the UK is a year-round endeavour.
“The seizure of bogus Adidas and Gucci clothes worth nearly £1.75m was made in August for example – but at Christmas the temptation of cheap fakes for consumers is inevitably greater.
“Many people enjoy finding a bargain but, quite simply, if a price appears too good to be true it probably is.”
Also seized from the town’s port were 708 pairs of Gucci branded shoes, worth an estimated £141,600, and 1,200 pairs of Calvin Klein underwear and Juicy Couture labels valued at £25,000.
Counterfeit goods are often of inferior quality, can be dangerous and the proceeds are often used to fund serious organised crime, a Border Force spokesman said.
After suspected counterfeit goods are detained by Border Force, officers approach the rights holders to verify that the products are fakes.
The rights holder then decides whether or not to bring a private prosecution against the importer. After this process is complete, the goods can be destroyed.
Immigration Minister, Mark Harper said: “Cheap counterfeits undercut honest traders and leave shoppers with goods that are at best inferior to genuine products and, at worst, harmful or unsafe.
“The international trade in counterfeit goods is serious organised crime and is a serious threat to the UK economy in terms of lost profits and tax revenues and are estimated to cost the economy around £1.3 billion a year.
“We have Border Force officers operating 24 hours a day at ports, airports and mail sorting centres detaining counterfeit items that could otherwise end up as gifts this Christmas.