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Last Updated: Friday, 21 November, 2003, 16:27 GMT
Warning over fake Christmas goods
A fake (left) and real (right) Bob the Builder toy
Some fakes are easier to spot than others
Fake Pokemon watches with parts that could choke a small child are just one example of counterfeit goods being seized in the run-up to Christmas.

Trading Standards officers say Christmas counterfeiters are back with "a vengeance" this year.

And they are warning shoppers to think twice before they buy fake goods.

As well as being potentially harmful, they can be used to fund drugs and criminal activity, says the Anti-Counterfeiting Group.

The group which represents manufacturers, retailers and trading standards official is calling on parents to buy toys from recognised retailers.

Can you spot which goods are fake?

This year a number of potentially harmful toys have been seized by trading standards officers in the run-up to Christmas.

Shop warning

These include fake Star Wars figures coated with paint containing dangerously high levels of lead, and counterfeit Bob the Builder soft toys which have poor quality seams that could allow the stuffing to leak out.

It is not just counterfeit toys that can be harmful.

During the last year there have been an increasing number of warnings about counterfeit alcohol.

Tips to spot fakes
Be wary of "too good to be true" bargains
Be wary of goods sold in car boot sales or pubs
Examine the stitching and seams in shoes and clothing
Poor quality labels and packaging on perfume
Buy toys from a recognised retailer

They can contain high levels of methanol, a chemical that can cause blindness and lead to coma and death.

ACG is advising shoppers to purchase their "Christmas spirit" from reputable retail outlets.

Ruth Orchard, Director-General of ACG, said money taken often went to fund other crime: "We urge shoppers to think twice before lining the pockets of these criminals, particularly during the season of goodwill.

"The fake trainers you buy today could fund the supply of drugs to your children tomorrow."

Fake goods seized at fair
26 Aug 03  |  Northern Ireland
Warning as fake goods flood market
08 Aug 03  |  Business
Fake goods linked to terrorism
17 Jul 03  |  Americas
Car boot sales warning
02 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland

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