Trading Standards officers from KCC, supported by Kent Police and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, swooped on a bootfair on Sunday (24 July) in a crackdown on the sale of counterfeit goods.
Officers and brand representatives targeted stalls at Pedham Place, Swanley, seizing 1,579 counterfeit items including tobacco, clothing, watches, sunglasses and furniture. If the products had been genuine, they would be worth around £530,000.
KCC Trading Standards Operations Manager Clive Phillips, said: “The sale of counterfeit products undermines local legitimate businesses and will not be tolerated.
“Counterfeit products are inferior in quality and do not conform to strict consumer safety standards. It is well documented that in many cases the money made from the sale of fake goods helps to fund organised criminal gangs.
“We will continue to work in partnership with Kent Police and trade mark representatives in cracking down on this illegal activity.”
Graham Mogg, Intelligence Coordinator at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), who attended the action, said: ‘’The sale of counterfeit goods is often viewed as a low-level crime, but in reality, those that sell counterfeit goods are undermining legitimate businesses and placing consumers at risk of harm from inferior products.’’
“Those involved in this illicit trade do not pay taxes and take much needed revenue from vital public services. This activity also funds other more mainstream criminality such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
“The ACG and the National Markets Group for intellectual property protection, applaud the action taken by Kent Trading Standards and Police at the market and we will continue to support them to ensure that consumers and legitimate traders are protected.’’
To report the sale of counterfeit goods in your community, residents are asked to contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.