Bargain-hunters looking forward to bank holiday markets and car boot sales have been warned to avoid fake or shoddy goods that could be harmful or leave them out of pocket.
An increased number of markets and boot sales – known hotspots for counterfeit goods – are expected to be held this weekend and attendees have been asked to watch out for suspicious items and report them to police or Trading Standards.
Among the potentially problematic goods listed by the Local Government Association (LGA) are fake perfumes which could burn skin and contain lead, fake sunglasses that offer no UVA protection, dangerous electrical goods, flammable children’s clothes and unsafe toys.
The LGA said “huge” hauls of fake designer handbags and trainers, sunglasses, perfume and jewellery had been recently seized from rogue market traders.
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Markets and car boot sales are great family events for bargain-hunters, but they can also be a magnet for dodgy traders, especially over busy bank holiday weekends, where they can sell dangerous and poor-quality goods to unsuspecting customers.
“Criminals selling illegal fake goods ruin the reputation of genuine stall holders, harm legitimate businesses, cost the economy millions in lost tax revenue and often fund organised criminal gangs and modern slavery.
“Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime – unsafe, poor-quality products can put lives at risk – which is why councils put a lot of work into preventing the sale of these items in local markets and online to ensure that shoppers avoid buying fake goods, get a fair deal and aren’t ripped off or put in danger.”