Beware of fake goods

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A HAUL of more than a thousand counterfeit DVDs and CDs, along with counterfeit toys and illegal tobacco products, have been seized in East Lancashire.

The seizure of the goods comes after raids on shops in Longridge and Nelson by Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards service.

Trading Standards officers, assisted by Lancashire Police, have been following up complaints from consumers and struggling businesses in an effort to stamp out the sale of counterfeit goods, which can force legitimate retailers out of business.

A warrant was served at one Nelson shop, netting 429 illegal CDs and DVDs, many of which were hidden in a plywood compartment built into the wall of the shop. It was the second seizure from this outlet this year. Suspected counterfeit toys and illegal tobacco products were also taken from the shop.

A second seizure at a shop in Longridge found 362 illegal DVDs and CDs being sold from under the counter.

The head of Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards service, Paul Noone, said: “There are strict laws covering the supply and labelling of films, which exist to keep violent films out of the hands of children. The illegal trading in unlabelled movies as found in these two cases, undermines the efforts of enforcers to protect families.

“Of particular concern are goods where there are safety concerns, such as toys. Over the next two months we are likely to see large amounts of counterfeit toys hitting shops and markets. Customers should be aware counterfeits may not meet required safety standards.”

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Cabinet member responsible for trading standards, added: “We are looking to send a clear message that the sale of counterfeit goods will not be tolerated in Lancashire.

“For those businesses who do obey the law, it is a real concern to see rival traders making money by offering shoddy products and avoiding taxes. It damages legitimate honest businesses who are already suffering due to the economic downturn.

“We would urge people not to buy, and to report any counterfeit goods they see for sale.”

Trading Standards are warning consumers to be careful and if they suspect that goods being supplied may be counterfeit, to contact them via Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.