Fake Olympic flags seized at Heathrow airport


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The Independent Online

Thousands of fake Olympic flags have been seized at Heathrow airport.

The haul of around 10,000 flags displaying the Olympic rings on a white background were sent from China and were due to be delivered to an importer in Norwood, south London.

The Border Force said officers seized the consignment, worth around £100,000, last week and asked official Games organisers Locog to check them out.

Locog confirmed they were fakes and they will now be destroyed.

Border Force Heathrow director Marc Owen said: "Counterfeiting is not a harmless crime, it is a huge criminal business estimated to cost the UK economy around £1.3 billion a year. For the gangs behind it, it is low-risk and high-reward.

"In the run-up to the Olympics we have been working closely with Locog to thwart those who would seek to illegally profit from the Games and protect UK consumers from the fakers."

Locog commercial director Chris Townsend said: "Fake products not only undermine our ability to raise the revenues needed to stage and host the London 2012 Games, but the fake goods themselves are likely to be of inferior quality and not meet the stringent safety and sustainability standards that all official products must meet."

The importer of the flags is not thought to have been aware they were fakes.

In the run up to the Games, thousands fake goods have been seized all over the UK, including themed vests and shirts, cigarette lighters and gym bags.