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8 June 2012, 13:17 | Updated: 8 June 2012, 13:47
Border Force officers have seized a range of fake Olympic goods at UK ports and airports.
In the run-up to the 2012 games Border Force operations have successfully stopped thousands of counterfeit Olympic goods being smuggled into the UK. Criminal gangs have tried to get fake sports bags and other goods to the UK to make an illegal profit.
The biggest find came at the Port of Felixstowe where more than 7,000 fake Olympic gym bags have been seized by Border Force.
As well as gym bags, Border Force officers at Felixstowe recently seized 540 Olympic branded cigarette lighters and other ports across the UK have also seen smuggling attempts.
432 Olympic themed vests were seized last month at Dover.
At Coventry’s international postal hub, 15 fake Olympic Adidas football shirts and 90 fake Olympic Polo Ralph Lauren shirts have been found in parcels.
And at Heathrow Airport, 100 kilos of fake Olympic ticket holders were detected in freight.
Home Office Minister Damian Green said: “Counterfeiting is not a harmless crime but a criminal enterprise posing a serious economic threat estimated to be worth around £1.3 billion in the UK each year.
“In this Olympic summer our officers have utilised intelligence sources, scanner technology and search techniques to successfully thwart those seeking to illegally profit from the Games.
“Border Force officers at ports and airports around the UK help monitor inbound freight to safeguard our communities from the illegal import of harmful items such as drugs, weapons and counterfeit goods.”
LOCOG commercial director, Chris Townsend said: “Fake products not only undermine our ability to raise the revenues needed to stage and host the London 2012 Games, but the fake goods themselves are likely to be of inferior quality and not meet the stringent safety and sustainability standards that all official products must meet.
“All official London 2012 merchandise bears the London 2012 hologram. When tilting the hologram from left to right and up and down, you should be able to see the London 2012 logos rotating with a 3D effect - if you are unable to see this then the product is likely to be fake.
“If you are in any doubt then the widest range of official London 2012 products is available from our official London 2012 shops and online at http://shop.london2012.com."
After suspected counterfeit goods are detained, Border Force officers ask the rights holders to verify that the products are fakes. The rights holder then decides whether or not to bring a private prosecution against the importer. After this process is complete, the goods can be destroyed.
Counterfeit items purchased over the internet – often by unsuspecting buyers – and imported through the postal system can be seized, leaving the buyer out of pocket.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 595 000.