Denbighshire Trading Standards section was involved in a North Wales operation over the weekend to target their local markets and car boot sales in a major crackdown on selling counterfeit and unsafe goods.
Markets and car boot sales offer an easy opportunity to those who wish to trade illegally and are increasingly being infiltrated by racketeers and criminal gangs for whom Intellectual Property crime is among a range of illegal activities.
In a joint venture between all six councils across North Wales, and with the support of North Wales Police, officers raided numerous stalls which resulted in sellers being arrested and bailed. Some market stall holders had their items seized pending further investigation and others voluntarily agreed to hand over goods clearly infringing trademark legislation.
A total of 1,340 counterfeit items were seized across North Wales during the operation which included handbags, watches, jewellery, music CDs, DVDs, sunglasses, clothing and Ped Egg foot files. Some items were seized under safety legislation and will be sent away for independent testing to ascertain if they comply with the relevant legislation
Leading up to the operation, Trading Standards Officers visited their respective markets and car boot sales to offer advice and assistance as well as gathering intelligence on sellers of counterfeit goods, making test purchases to help identify the individuals involved.
Denbighshire Trading Standards take this matter very seriously. They say “Counterfeiting is the very opposite of fair competition. The counterfeiter sets out to make money by deception, deliberately assuming the identity of an already established and reputable manufacturer. By this method they can avoid the costs incurred and the taxes payable by legitimate companies. This can have a devastating effect on manufacturers resulting in the loss of jobs and loss of revenue to the government. Counterfeiters also pay no VAT, so national economies are deprived of funding for services such as schools and hospitals”.
Richard Powell, Chairman of the North Wales Fair Trading Group said “Markets and boot sales are ideal venues for the trade in counterfeit goods, which has a high return with very low risk
“It is now widely accepted that criminals involved in counterfeiting are also involved in other forms of crime.
“Victims of counterfeiting range from members of the public, manufacturers and distributors to national economies. Consumers may purchase poor quality and even unsafe products, which can lead to serious injury and even death.”
For further information on buying and selling at Markets and Car Boot Sales, please contact Denbighshire County Council, Trading Standards Office, by phoning 01824 706057.