£4m counterfeit goods seized at airport

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The Independent Online

Imitation GHD hair straighteners and Nintendo games were among £4 million of counterfeit goods seized at a UK airport, the UK Border Agency revealed today.

The goods were seized at East Midlands Airport over the past year, including GHD branded hair straighteners worth £117,884 and Nintendo goods worth £155,135.

The announcement came as officers based at the airport were presented with an award from the national Anti-Counterfeiting Group for their successes, coinciding with World Anti-Counterfeiting Day.

Today the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said officers across the country worked closely with key manufacturers and organisations like the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) to identify illegally-produced imitation products imported into the UK.

The agency used today's announcement of its successes at East Midlands airport to warn people against buying fakes in a bid to find a bargain.

Assistant director Alex Lawther, said: "These results make it abundantly clear just how seriously we take the smuggling of counterfeit goods, a crime which deprives the public purse of millions of pounds of valuable revenue every year.

"Our officers work tirelessly to detect and detain smuggled goods, disrupting an illegal trade which cheats British taxpayers and undercuts honest businesses.

"Smugglers are only out to make a profit. The goods are often dangerous and the proceeds can be used to fuel serious organised crime.

"Many people enjoy finding a bargain, but the UK Border Agency's message to the public is straightforward.

"Quite simply, if something appears to be good to be true, it is."

Kieron Sharp, director general of Fact, said the organisation carries out investigations into a range of counterfeiting activities involving films and TV programmes.

This includes illegally-produced DVDs which are sold via the internet and posted to the UK from Asia.

"Close cooperation with the UK Border Agency is enabling better targeting of these shipments and we are also having success shutting down the sales outlets on the internet," he said.

"This is highly organised international criminal activity and it requires concerted work by law enforcement agencies and rights owners to tackle the problem."