Fake �2.3m shoe hoard uncovered at port

FAKE designer shoes and trainers with a street value of �2.3million have been seized by customs officers at Felixstowe docks.

FAKE designer shoes and trainers with a street value of �2.3million have been seized by customs officers at Felixstowe docks.

They were among thousands of counterfeit goods, including poisonous herbal remedies, which international crime gangs have attempted to smuggle through the Suffolk port.

HM Customs has revealed that among the contraband seized towards the end of last year were 318 cartons full of counterfeit designer Jimmy Choo and Gucci-branded ladies shoes and boots, which had arrived from China.

The street value of the load destined for the London markets was �1.4m.

A similar plot was also foiled when another consignment of footwear was uncovered when it came into the port from China. The cargo contained 620 cartons filled with flat-packed orange shoe boxes, along with a similar number of Nike-branded trainers. The haul had a street value of nearly �900,000.

Toxic herbal medicines were also discovered in a mixed cargo that arrived at the port from Nigeria. When officers examined the consignment, they found 20 cartons of herbal mixture traditionally used for pain relief.

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Results from samples sent for analysis showed that the mixture contained dangerous quantities of a toxic herb.

In addition they found 100 small recycled bottles containing a brown liquid described on the label as a cure for snake or scorpion bites and dysentery. These were also found to contain dangerous levels of toxins.

A container of assorted foodstuffs from Ghana was also uncovered by officers in November, who found among other items, 132 litres of African Herbal Remedy and 420 capsules.

Laboratory tests revealed they had Aloe Ferox in them. It is illegal to remove plants from an unsustainable resource in the wild. This endangers the plant species and because the product is unregulated it may contain other ingredients that are harmful.

Jim Jarvie, from the UK Border Agency (UKBA), who is based in Suffolk, said: “There are many reasons why you should avoid buying fake goods. They may be dangerous, for example toxic herbal remedies or poor quality counterfeit goods.

“The shoes recently seized were badly made and there is unlikely to be any guarantees or after-sales service. In addition most illegal goods fund drug dealers and other organised crime, even terrorism.”

Have you unwittingly bought counterfeit goods? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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