Thousands of fake designer Christmas presents seized in Milton Keynes
More than a million pounds worth of fake designer goods intended to be sold as Christmas presents have been seized by customs staff at a warehouse in Milton Keynes, the Citizen can reveal.
They include 5,200 counterfeit Dr Dre Beats headphones and Apple earphones and hundreds of fake designer bags and trainers.
The items were all confiscated at the new HMRC and Border Forces Inland Checking Facility on Magna Park in MK.
The facility, which opened earlier this year , is intended to target the 50 current highest-risk traders from the rest of the world.
But but in the event of a ‘no deal’Brexit, HMRC would also use the site for compliance activity relating to high risk EU traders.
The Border Force is concentrating upon large organised crime gangs whose aim is to exploit the UK’s border for profit.
Since the beginning of November, goods totalling almost £3m have confiscated in Milton Keynes, London Gateway Port and Heathrow chekcing facilities.
These include more than 1300 counterfeit Chanel, Burberry and Gucci scarves worth an estimated £904,775, and 850 counterfeit Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Nike, Champion and Converse bags and trainers with an estimated value of more than £842,000.
There was also around 3400 items of counterfeit Gucci, Versace, and Chanel bedding, together with items of counterfeit Royal Crown Derby Collection tableware with an estimated total value of £299,400.
Other items include 130 counterfeit North Face jackets, Levi T-shirts and Lyle & Scott jumpers estimated to be worth more than £6,000 and more than 200 counterfeit Estee Lauder skincare sets.
HMRC and Border Force undertake targeted checks inland, which help prevent mis-declared goods from flowing into the country.
Carrying out these checks inland is a proportionate measure to avoid congestion at ports., they say. But the majority of imports into the UK are still not required to go through inland pre-clearance.
Security Minister Brandon Lewis said: “This Government is committed to cracking down on criminals and the trade in counterfeit goods. People who deliberately purchase counterfeit goods are funding and supporting serious and organised criminals and their illegal activity.”
He added: “These seizures show how effective Border Force officers are in cracking down on criminality across our ports, airports and mail hubs to keep fake, counterfeit goods out of the country. Their critical work protects legitimate business and ensures that smugglers do not profit.”
Once counterfeit items are seized, the Border Force’s specialist international trade teams work with the owners of big brands to establish whether the goods are genuine.
If proved to be fake the goods are destroyed, and the rights holders must decide whether to privately prosecute the importers.
Anybody who believe they have purchased counterfeit goods are advised to contact Action Fraud, their local Trading Standards office or visit the Citizens Advice website.
Meanwhile anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling