As the Premier League kicks off this weekend, plans to sell thousands of fake and potentially dangerous replica football shirts have been red-carded.
Scores of boxes of fake shirts for teams, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Porto, Benfica and Paris Saint Germain, were among a haul of counterfeit goods with a retail value of more than £1 million found by Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards officers.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said the big issue with fake clothing is the danger it can pose to people’s safety.
“As well as taking money from reputable businesses, there’s no guarantee that counterfeit clothing like these shirts meets high standards and safety legislation, making them potentially dangerous.
“We’ve had cases before where fake clothing does not pass fire safety tests, sunglasses that don’t offer protection from UV rays, and fake electronics that have exploded whilst in use. These products may be tempting because they look like a bargain, but it’s not worth the risk to your health and safety.”
The raid was as a result of information received from the National Trading Standards Safety at Ports Project at East Midlands airport.
The project works across 14 local authorities at ports, airports and postal hubs to detail dangerous and illegal items such as toys, clothing, cosmetics and electrical appliances.
Acting on intelligence that goods were being imported into a North Staffordshire warehouse, Staffordshire Trading Standards carried out a raid where they found football kits, fake mobile phone components, sunglasses and even razor blades.
The European Commission reported last year that of the total counterfeit goods seized in 2016, 34% were products for daily use and were potentially dangerous to consumers’ health and safety. This represents an 8% increase since 2015.
“The increase in the amount of dangerous and counterfeit products seized at ports is a worrying trend. People should always buy from reputable retailers, as that way you will have peace of mind that these products are safe, and that the money you pay is going to legitimate sources and not potentially funding criminal activity.”