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Friday, October 8, 1999 Published at 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK


Crackdown on fake goods

Officers have been monitoring the Rugby World Cup for fake goods

A fresh drive to stamp out the multi-million pound trade in fake goods is being launched by trading standards officers.

The BBC's Nicola Carslaw: "Cracking down on crime which gives consumers a raw deal"
New figures show that in the course of a year 1.3m counterfeit items worth 65m were seized in the UK.

And companies say fake goods are damaging their businesses and forcing them to push prices up.

Clothing and computer software are the most popular markets for the counterfeiters.

[ image: Counterfeit videos are checked by a trading standards officer]
Counterfeit videos are checked by a trading standards officer
Police officers have been patrolling at grounds being used for the current Rugby World Cup to try to crack down on fake goods being sold to supporters.

Sports grounds are regularly targeted by traders selling counterfeit items.

The problem - described as "staggering" by trading standards officers who are increasingly concerned that consumers are getting a raw deal - is being discussed at a conference in Bristol.

Health risk

Trading standards officer David Sanders said counterfeit goods are usually inferior to the genuine product.

For example, he said perfumes could be harmful to health because of the chemicals used, while other fake products such as video tapes could damage video recorders.

And Mr Sanders added: "As a consumer you have no statutory rights against the counterfeiter. You have bought the items, he has disappeared and you can never get your money back."

But some people argue that the counterfeit trade is a legitimate part of a free market.

They say it is difficult to identify the differences between fake items and the original products.

But the owners of some of the most copied brands, who say the fake goods are sub-standard, are campaigning for more protection for their products and brand names.

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