By Francesca James
Border Force officers have stopped millions of pounds worth of fake goods from entering the UK in the run-up to Christmas.
Operating at UK ports and airports Border Force help protect the UK economy and public from the illegal trade in counterfeit goods. In the last few months alone officers have seized tens of thousands of goods, including fake designer clothing and luggage, footwear, watches, sports goods, toys and electronic goods.
Border Force and Trading Standards are warning festive shoppers to be careful about what they buy and where they buy it from to avoid fuelling the illegal trade.
Home Office minister Mark Harper said: 'Cheap counterfeits undercut honest traders leaving shoppers with goods that are at best inferior and, at worst, harmful or unsafe. They are a serious threat to the British economy in terms of lost profits and tax revenues.
'Border Force officers operate at ports, airports and mail sorting centres to intercept counterfeit goods to protect British consumers and business.
'The public can play their part in disrupting the trade by ensuring they only buy from genuine retailers.'
In recent weeks Border Force operations at Felixstowe, which handles around 40 per cent of the UK's container trade, have stopped more than £5 million worth of goods preventing goods reaching towns and cities across the UK.
Kevin Sayer, from Border Force at the Port of Felixstowe, said: 'We are uncovering all sorts of fake goods, from beauty products to children’s toys, and we’re warning people to be particularly wary of buying cheap items online or from unofficial traders.
'It's easy to be tricked into thinking you’re getting a bargain, but in the run-up to Christmas our message is that if something appears too good to be true it probably is.'