Swansea Trading Standards lead UK operation
A major UK counterfeit goods operation has resulted in £1 million of fake products being seized by trading standards.
Swansea Council's Trading Standards coordinated the seizure which took place recently when twelve vehicles on route to Bristol Fruit Market were stopped on the M5.
Motorway police officers from Midlands Police Force joined the council's trading standards, along with other Welsh trading standards officers, to stop the vehicles.
Six of the vehicles seized during the raid, were crammed full with counterfeit goods including Kylie Jenner cosmetics, Ugg boots, GHD hair straighteners and fake MAC makeup sets.
Other goods taken include fake Nike and Adidas trainers and various brands of perfume and aftershave.
The council became involved after investigating complaints locally from consumers who had purchased goods via social media sites including Facebook and Instagram.
Mark Child, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing & Healthy City, said: "We've seen an increase in the sale of counterfeit goods across the country. Social media is being used as a platform to sell these products.
"All of these counterfeit goods are poorly constructed and have not been put through the rigorous safety tests that genuine products are subject to. This means consumers are put at risk, especially where electrical products are concerned.
"The seizure of this very large haul of counterfeit goods is the result of a lot of hard work by a number of agencies all working together and sharing the information they have.
"This is an excellent result for all the agencies involved as well as the public and businesses that are affected by the sale of counterfeit products."
The raid is the latest phase of Operation Jasper, a long running campaign, co-ordinated by the National Markets Group and trading standards.
The aims of the raid are to disrupt the flow of cheap, dangerous, counterfeit goods by gangs who supply rogue traders at Bristol Fruit market, as well as Facebook and Instagram sellers who get them from the market, and sell them on to members of the public.
The gang's activities came to light after painstaking intelligence work by agencies, such as the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minster of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, said: "I would like to congratulate Trading Standards and their partners in law enforcement and the private sector for keeping dangerous fake goods away from market stalls and out of the hands of the public.
"As the festive season begins we must do everything we can to make sure unscrupulous traders selling counterfeit goods do not take advantage of consumers looking for a Christmas bargain.
"This is not a victimless crime. The sale of counterfeit goods hurts honest businesses who lose trade and consumers who risk buying shoddy or even dangerous goods. Counterfeiters should expect a lean Christmas."
Some of the tactics used in the latest investigation included using ANPR technology to track the movement of a number of vehicles over a long period of time along with the seizure of mobile phones and satellite tracking equipment used by the gangs.
Other Welsh trading standards teams involved in the operation included Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Caerphilly.