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Fake goods raid officers attacked

PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:34 03 March 2010

HORRIFIED market shoppers watched in disbelief as trading standards officers were bundled to the ground in a dramatic scuffle during a raid to seize fake goods.

HORRIFIED market shoppers watched in disbelief as trading standards officers were bundled to the ground in a dramatic scuffle during a raid to seize fake goods.

An angry stall holder chased a male and female officer at Felixstowe's popular Sunday seafront market after they had seized bags of alleged counterfeit Adidas gear from his stall.

Police were called as a female trading standards officer was grabbed by the neck and pushed to the floor, and a male colleague was also knocked to the ground.

The raid at the site in Sea Road was one of a series of co-ordinated swoops across the country that netted tens of thousands of pounds worth of fake gear.

Today trading standards experts were analysing the goods collected from stalls at the resort, while police were still waiting for an official complaint about the market trader's behaviour.

A police spokeswoman said: "We were called to the market at about 4.15pm yesterday and inquiries are still ongoing at the moment. There has been no official complaint made as yet, but it is possible that a statement will be made later in the day."

The male trading standards officer said he had suffered cuts to both hands after he was chased through the stalls by market workers.

"I had the bags of goods in my hands when I started being chased. Five or six of them gathered round me. I thought they were going to kick me," he said.

Eight trading standards officers and two brand experts from Manchester pounced on markets in Ellough, Kessingland and Felixstowe, seizing bags of fake Nike, Adidas, Gap and Kangol. 

Adidas brand expert Mike Roylance said examples of fake sportsgear being sold on markets was "very convincing", and it was recognisable as counterfeit only by the country of origin.

"They would have fooled most members of the public. I spotted them as fakes because that type of shirt is actually made in Indonesia but the label said Turkey," he said.

More than 500 fake items were seized from four stalls in Ellough and three stalls in Felixstowe. Dozens of illegally copied DVDs and videos were seized from a stall at Kessingland market.

Rip-off traders face a ten year prison sentence and an unlimited fine if they are caught peddling fake gear, most of which is imported from the Far East.

A Trading Standards principal officer who heads up the criminal investigations team, and who cannot be named, said: "We are increasingly finding inferior illegally copied and often unsafe goods on sale to the public which have been produced or imported by unscrupulous UK businesses or individuals capitalising on well-known company names and brands."

Because of the scuffle, it was unlikely future raids would be made without a police presence, he added.

Market-goers were warned that clothing is likely to be fake if it has no brand label, no swing tickets and poor quality printing or embroidery.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcc.gov.uk/trading_standards/index.html

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