Fake designer perfumes 'may contain cyanide and human urine’
Christmas shoppers should avoid fake designer perfumes as they could contain cyanide and urine, police have warned.
Other counterfeit cosmetics such as eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss and foundation have also been found to contain toxic levels of arsenic, mercury and lead, authorities said.
The warning comes after £60,000 worth of fake designer beauty products, including Chanel, Armani, Dior and Hugo Boss, were seized by police in raids in the run-up to Christmas.
The City of London Police's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PICPU) raided two commercial premises in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, on Tuesday and uncovered 400 perfume bottles.
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They also found seven tonnes of counterfeit clothing, accessories and wireless earphones.
Detective Sergeant Matthew Hussey, from the PIPCU, said: "While fake perfume can look almost identical to its genuine counterparts, laboratory tests of samples previously seized by PIPCU have shown that it can contain poisonous chemicals, including cyanide and even human urine.
"All of these can cause allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns.
“The lower price of counterfeit beauty products make them an appealing option to shoppers in the run up to Christmas, particularly at a time when cost-of-living pressures have increased.
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“Those involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit goods are taking advantage of this and making huge profits in the process.
"These products are often untested and unregulated, showing that counterfeiters have little regard for the safety of the people who end up using them.”
The raids were supported by Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Vulcan, the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (NWPIPCU), Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Immigration Services and anti-counterfeiting agency WRi.
A residential address was also searched, and one man was arrested.
He has since been released under investigation.