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Don’t be duped by fakes at car boot sales

People planning a trip to their local car boot sale over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend are being warned not to be duped by counterfeit goods.

With shoppers looking for more bang for their buck, fakes, which are normally cheaper, can seem like a good idea.

But trading standards officers are warning people that counterfeit items are 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 counterfeiting also goes into the pockets of organised criminal gangs and legitimate traders suffer as a result, harming the local economy.

The Easter Bank Holiday weekend usually kicks off the car boot season, with many taking place on the Monday. Typical fakes could include designer clothing, electrical goods, toiletries, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco and vapes.

Philip White, Deputy Leader at Staffordshire County Council said: “The counterfeit goods market may seem like a harmless enough industry but there’s lots of reasons why you should avoid fakes.

“Counterfeit goods can not only be harmful to your health and poor quality, but by buying fakes you’re helping support other more serious criminal activity. Over the last few years our officers have seized millions of pounds of fake goods, taking dangerous goods off the streets and helping keep communities safe.

“Our advice is to always be on your guard, check the quality of the labelling, look for spelling mistakes and poor grammar and if the deal is too good to be true then question this.

“And remember, fakes could also be offered to you at local markets too, as well as online or on social media platforms. For safer shopping, which is what we want to see, you’re always better to buy from recognised trusted retailers.

Some of the dangers of counterfeit goods include:

  • Counterfeit alcohol such as vodka contains dangerous chemicals which can cause many health problems such as blindness

  • Fake tobacco or vaping products can contain unknown chemicals

  • Non-genuine electronics can have substandard batteries which can overheat or cause fires

  • Counterfeit perfume can often burn skin or leave a nasty rash and may contain lead

  • Fake sunglasses often offer no UVA protection, causing eye damage, and fake sun cream won’t protect you from the sun.

  • Counterfeit children's toys can often be unsafe with unsuitable small parts or small batteries and children's clothes may be inflammable.

People can report counterfeit goods sales on the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes hotline on 01785 330356.

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