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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 August 2005, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Boot sale counterfeiters targeted
Counterfeit DVDs are said to be funding criminal organisations
Criminal gangs who sell counterfeit goods at car boot sales will find it harder to operate under new proposals drafted by a Conservative MP.

Sales of fake DVDs, CDs and other goods are thought to net 9bn in the UK each year and cost 2bn in lost tax revenue.

Authorities say gangs are increasingly attracted by the promise of high profits and a low risk of detection.

John Whittingdale wants sale organisers to keep registers of names, addresses and vehicle numbers of traders.

The MP for Maldon and Chelmsford East and chair of the House of Commons' culture, media and sport committee is to announce details of his private members bill this week.

Money laundering

"Every weekend up and down the country, criminal gangs are infiltrating popular car boot sales and other markets," he said.

"They are making a fortune from the sale of fake goods, of which many are poor quality and some are downright dangerous."

The Occasional Sales Bill aims to protect consumers so they can "enjoy their favourite markets, confident that the goods they buy are safe, legitimate and work".

Organisers would face a fine of 5,000 and up to six months imprisonment for failing to keep a formal register of sellers.

It is hoped the information will help trading standards officers and police mount prosecutions against counterfeiters.

The Alliance Against Intellectual Property Theft estimates about a quarter of all fake goods are bought at markets and car boot sales.

The organisation, a coalition of trade groups from the creative business, said there is growing evidence that organised crime has moved into counterfeiting as a way of both making money and laundering funds.

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