Thousands of fake Olympic and sporting goods worth up to £100,000 in street value have been seized by Trading Standards as part of an important crackdown on counterfeiters before the games take place next year.
Officials from Trading Standards found 6,500 fake items during a raid on a trader on Oxford Street, which included counterfeit goods purporting to be from top brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma. Westminster Council commented that this was one of the largest collections of counterfeit merchandise that they had ever seized from a retailer.
Amongst the good recovered during the raid on Oxford Street were more than 130 "London 2012" polo shirts, which were both on display at the premises and in storage. It is believed that the trader may have imported the shirts from Thailand and then designed an unofficial 2012 motif himself.
The raid was carried out following a tip-off and the police arrested three people at the scene - one for an outstanding warrant, one for theft and one for trade mark offences. It was also discovered that because of the amount of goods stored on the stairwell and in front of fire escapes, the premises was unsafe and posed a serious fire risk. The fire brigade subsequently served a prohibition notice on the first and second floors of the shops, whict meant that they could no longer trade in the dangerous conditions.
Westminster Council’s cabinet member for business and licensing, Cllr Brian Connell said: “Our trading standards team have a strong track record of cracking down on counterfeit goods and with the Olympics a little over a year away we will continue to be vigilant for any fake goods coming into central London. The West End has unrivalled shopping opportunities and we want to stop these fake goods that undermine legitimate businesses and can con the unwary consumer”
Sue Jones, Westminster’s Head of Trading Standards said: “This was a particularly large seizure by my team and was a very well executed operation working with a number of other agencies, within a short space of time. We have noticed an increase in counterfeit goods recently - particularly sportswear - and will continue to take action to combat this illegal activity”.
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