£25,000-worth of counterfeit goods seized

CHRISTMAS shoppers in Burnley, Nelson and Clitheroe are being warned to be on their guard for festive fakes after items worth £25,000 were seized in one week.

Trading Standards raids on markets and car boot sales have led to thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit goods including footwear, the latest DVDs and MP3 players, cigarettes, toys, and razor blades being seized.

County council officers, helped by police, have been following up complaints from consumers and legitimate businesses.

The seizures include fakes of famous clothes brands including Nike, and latest film titles, including Beowulf and American Gangster.

Chief Trading Standards Officer Mr Jim Potts said: "Trading Standards have recently been given more powers to tackle counterfeits and bootlegs, and we aim to maintain a fair and safe trading environment by making Lancashire a no-go area for fakes.

"For those businesses who do abide by the law it is a real concern to see these traders are making money by offering shoddy products and avoiding the usual taxes levied on honest businesses."

County Coun. Jean Battle warned that cigarettes, vodka, whisky and perfume sold cheaply on car boot sales or by street sellers could contain illegal additives including excessive levels of methanol, an ingredient which can cause blindness or death. Counterfeit cigarettes may contain more dangerous chemicals and less efficient filters than real ones.

Trading Standards are warning consumers to be careful and if they suspect goods may be counterfeit, to contact them on 08454 04 05 06.