More than £4 million worth of fake goods - some of them described by trading standards officers as “lethal” - have been seized from traders at Wellesbourne market in the second major crackdown at the site.
The items - including counterfeit GHD hairdryers and straighteners which tests revealed had potentially deadly safety defects - add to a £3.1 million worth of goods seized from the market in September.
Fake GHD hairdryers, when tested, caught fire due to the absence of any thermal cut-out, while other fake electrical items tested had used wiring that was so thin it could melt in use – risking fire or electrocution.
The appliances were also fitted with ‘fake’ fuses that were of such poor quality that even if they caught fire they might continue to conduct electricity.
The latest raid was carried out on Saturday December 14 in a joint operation involving Warwickshire County Council’s trading standards service and Warwickshire Police. Six arrests were made relating to the supply and possession of counterfeit goods and £3,000 was seized under the proceeds of crime act, together with counterfeit goods valued at £4.2 million.
Officers said December’s raid “eclipsed” September’s raid in terms of the value of goods seized.
Items included suspected fake clothing, perfumes and electrical products with brand names including Adidas, Superdry, Chanel and dr dre.
Janet Faulkner, head of Warwickshire Trading Standards, said: “We are extremely concerned that someone could be seriously injured or killed by these dangerous fakes.
“Traders in fake goods are warned that we will continue launch these joint operations to clear the markets of fake goods. Those caught dealing in counterfeit goods not only risk losing the goods, but may also face losing assets such as vehicles and even their homes if they cannot prove that they were purchased from legitimate income.”
She said that the maximum penalty for dealing in counterfeit goods is ten years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
Insp Lucy Sewell of Warwickshire Police said “This is not the first time we have targeted operations at markets. This latest action should send out a clear message to all those trading in counterfeit goods that we will catch you and you risk not just losing all your stock, but also your assets such as your house and your car and possibly your liberty.”
Anyone who suspects that they have been sold counterfeit goods or knows of traders selling such goods is urged to call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 040506.
To find a genuine brand stockist, visit www.brand-i.org