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Last Updated: Monday November 30 2009 19:12 GMT

Hayley investigates fake toys

Hayley investigates fake toys

Watch Hayley's report

Most of us have seen copied CDs and DVDs sold in markets and on the street, but did you know that loads of fake toys get snuck into the UK too?

Hayley went to find out more.


"All the shops seem to be filled with brilliant and exciting new toys, gadgets and designer gear at the moment. So when I heard that I was going to see some gigantic containers filled with all the latest gizmos and toys you can imagine how excited I was.

I went to a port in Southampton, which was massive with about 4 huge ships docked there. Each ship had about 2000 metal containers on it and each of those containers was about the size of my bedroom!

Not safe

But instead of the real deal, some of the containers had illegal fake goods inside. They are copies of real items that have been made abroad, without passing certain checks and tests to make sure they're safe for kids.

The officer I spoke to said that they gets thousands of fake toys each year. At their port they have already had £6.5 million worth of fakes this year.

Finding the fakes

Barney the sniffer dog
Barney sniffs out a fake toy

To see what was in the containers they had a massive X-ray scanner, about the size of a lorry, that moved over each container and scanned the inside. You can see everything that was in there, from cars to toys to furniture.

Once they had found a container that possibly held fake items, they got a sniffer dog called Barney to check out inside it. Barney was a really cute cuddly cocker spaniel and he was trained to smell out any illegal substances. If Barney thought a box was dodgy the officers would then open it up and see what was inside.

Kids at risk

When I was there, they opened the box and inside were loads of Spiderman models. They looked really cool, but the officers told me they were fakes and so needed to be sent away for further investigation.

The people who build these toys make a lot of money, but they are also putting kids at risk. Because the toys haven't been properly checked they could be unsafe or contain dangerous substances.

Tell-tale signs

Councils, custom officers and police are all taking this issue very seriously but there are things you can do to help. Look for the following tell-tale signs: a real toy would have a CE mark on it or the manufacturers address. It should be properly packaged and the name of the toy should be spelt correctly. And to be sure you're definitely not buying a fake, always get your toys from a store you trust."

Hayley