Police announced today that they have made 15 arrests in Wrexham, Monmouth, Newport and Cardiff.
Police believe the 10 men and 5 women have been smuggling carrier bags by the hundreds from well know stores in England and selling them outside shops and pubs in east Wales for as little as 2p a time, just 40% of the 5p statutory charge.
Chief Constables from across Wales are expected to lobby the Assembly to introduce border checks and ask that a 5p charge be levied on any carrier brought in from England until such times as similar legislation is introduced there.
Police spokesperson DCI Clabber of the Dyfed-Powys force said:
“This is the tip of the iceberg, and mainly affects eastern counties; we have the much more serious problem in the west with counterfeit carrier bags.”
It has come to the attention of police forces that cheap knock off carrier bags are on the streets of Swansea, St David’s and Bangor. The bags sport the logos of popular high street brands but are made of sub-standard materials that may split when holding shopping and take ten times longer to bio-degrade than the genuine article. Most worrying of all is that the inferior bags do not have a warning about keeping them away from children, pets or putting them over the face.
Safety campaigners fear that members of the public will be fooled into thinking that these bags are safe to wear across the mouth and nose and may cause fatalities.
A police spokesperson urged the public to be vigilant and stay safe. He added:
“We all need to understand that the revenue from smuggled and counterfeit bags is not going to good causes and charities as intended but is funding terrorism, drugs and stuff like that.”