AN “Aladdin’s Cave” of fake goods were seized following two days of raids in Burnley and Pendle.
The huge haul captured by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service on May 2nd and 3rd included counterfeit tobacco, cigarette lighters, toys, jewellery, football memorabilia and mobile phone SIM cards.
The quantity of tobacco alone, consisting of 13,000 cigarettes and 33 packs of rolling tobacco with an estimated street value of £4,000, illustrates the underground market in illegal and dangerous goods which is thriving in East Lancashire.
Head of Trading Standards Paul Noone, said: “In only the first four months of 2012, Lancashire’s trading standards teams has seized 40,000 illegal cigarettes and 57kg. of illegal tobacco in the east of the county, in around 30 separate operations.
“Counterfeit goods are not manufactured with safety concerns in mind. The gangs responsible for supplying them are only interested in profit.
“This should send out a warning to traffickers of illegal goods that we will not hesitate to seize their stock and bring prosecutions.”
Other goods found included more than 100 banned cigarette lighters, boxes of counterfeit toys including toy guns, and various football souvenirs such as mugs with club crests.
Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, added: “Legitimate local businesses which already struggling in the recession are seeing their trade hit by sales of under-the-counter counterfeit products.
“The council will continue to crackdown on this kind of illegal activity. We are committed to improving the prosperity of Lancashire’s genuine businesses.”