Staffordshire bargain hunters are being urged to be aware of counterfeit goods when visiting car boot sales or markets over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
The county council’s trading standards team is warning people that counterfeit items could be offered to them at local markets and car boot sales.
Officers are reminding people that counterfeit goods are often poor quality imitations that will leave them out of pocket and in cases of fake alcohol and tobacco could also be harmful to their health. Money made from counterfeit sales also goes into the pockets of organised criminal gangs and harm legitimate traders who lose out.
Over the last few years, the service has seized millions of pounds’ worth of fake goods – most recently tobacco, electronic cigarettes and clothing. Popular fakes include mobile phones and accessories, footwear, branded clothing, toys and games, alcohol and tobacco.
It is estimated that counterfeiting costs the UK economy £9 billion every year.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Staffordshire County Council said: “Bank holiday weekends are always a popular time for car boot sales and market events, and we are keen to remind people about being on their guard for counterfeit items.
“Fakes are increasingly hard to detect just to look at, so when something is being sold at a knock-down price, people should be extremely wary. We always say that if something is too good to be true, it usually is. And they’re not just available at car boot sales. Fakes are also widely available online and on social media networks too.
“Anyone who buys counterfeit goods will end up with poor quality and possibly dangerous goods while helping line criminals’ pockets. We want to protect the public and legitimate business and we will continue to take action against counterfeiters.”
People can report sales of counterfeit goods by calling the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes line on 01785 330356.