Police have found an “astonishing” haul of knock-off designer goods and illegal items in pre-Christmas raids on Oxford Street.
More than 17,500 items were confiscated by police and public bodies in the multi-agency Operation Jade, which saw four souvenir and sweet shops raided on Thursday night in the popular central London street.
Trading Standards Officers seized 11,000 goods including unsafe toys, counterfeit clothing, and nicotine products incorrectly labelled and with high nicotine content.
Police confiscated two bags of foodstuff that had more than the allowed legal limit of THC – the main psychoactive compound in cannabis – while other staff seized 4,000 items being sold by an unregistered food business operator.
Some 2,500 souvenirs were taken from unregistered businesses and illegal street traders.
Meanwhile, health and safety officers served three notices for unsafe electrical goods and poor standards of safety within premises.
Westminster City Council cabinet member for communities and regeneration Heather Acton said: “Oxford Street is the nation’s high street, our shoppers should be able to trust the products they are buying in the city are as described ‘on the tin’.
“The quantity and variety of goods seized by our officers is astonishing.
“Many of these goods are unsafe and certainly unhealthy.
“From cheap imitations of fashionable products to mislabelled tobacco and even psychoactive substances it’s vital that we protect customers and get these products off the shelves.
“This Christmas is make or break for many high street shops, and checking retailers will support legitimate businesses and protect the reputation of the West End as a leading destination for shoppers.”