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Real Deal Staffordshire
Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath (left) with Mark Wilson (centre) and Nigel Cotton from the county council’s trading standards team.

Stay safe and avoid counterfeits this Easter bank holiday

People are being urged to be vigilant and avoid buying counterfeit goods if they’re heading to one of Staffordshire’s Easter bank holiday markets or car boot sales.

The first bank holiday weekend of the year also marks the beginning of the car boot sale and markets season. While providing a family day out where people can pick up a bargain, they can attract traders selling counterfeit and illicit goods.

The county council’s trading standards team coordinates the national Real Deal markets campaign in Staffordshire. Market organisers can sign up to support the fight to halt the sale of counterfeit goods.

Counterfeit items endanger public health and damage businesses and the economy. The majority of goods seized in Staffordshire in 2017/18 were illicit tobacco products, although others included counterfeit electrical goods and cosmetics. Fake electrical goods are hazardous as they can cause fires and electrocution. Harmful substances such as high lead levels in perfume are a risk with counterfeit cosmetics.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

This is the first bank holiday weekend of the year and also the start of the car boot and markets season. These are great family events and we support the organisers running them.

We’re part of the national Real Deal markets campaign which brings market event organisers on board to help to stop counterfeit goods sales.

We want people to avoid the pitfalls of counterfeit goods this holiday weekend and throughout the year – protecting themselves and legitimate businesses.

Counterfeit goods can be hard to detect just to look at, so a knock down price is a good indicator. These items are shoddy, they may be dangerous and their sale puts local jobs at risk.”

Some of the hidden dangers of counterfeit goods include:
• Counterfeit alcohol such as vodka contains dangerous chemicals
• Counterfeit perfume can often burn skin or leave a nasty rash and may contain lead
• Fake sunglasses often offer no UVA protection, causing eye damage
• Fake or illicit tobacco often contains unknown chemicals, higher tar levels and cigarettes can be a fire risk as they do not burn out like legitimate products
• Counterfeit children’s toys can often be unsafe with unsuitable small parts and children’s clothes may be inflammable.

Anyone wanting to report counterfeit goods sales can call the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes line on 01785 330356.