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  1. ITV Report

Can you spot a fake England football shirt?

Some of the fake football shirts seized at East Midlands airport. Credit: Leicestershire County Council

It's the pride and joy of any football fan, but is the shirt on your back the real deal?

Each World Cup season, eager fans queue up to grab the new England shirt.

UK consumers are expected to spend £264m this year on sportswear emulating their football heroes - £463m if the Three Lions make it through to the final.

The football shirt is a symbol of pride for many World Cup enthusiasts.

But many unsuspecting supporters could be buying shoddy replicas smuggled into Britain by organised criminal gangs.

Some replicas can be high-quality and difficult to recognise as a fake. Credit: Leicestershire County Council

More than £240,000 of counterfeit football kits have been seized at East Midlands airport ahead of the World Cup.

Since April, more than 12,000 fake kits across 27 separate incidents have been prevented from entering the UK by the Leicestershire County Council’s Trading Standards officers.

Officers work with Border Force to examine cargo and stop any unsafe goods being imported - as part of these checks, fake goods are often found.

Seizing fake goods protects unsuspecting fans. Credit: Leicestershire County Council

Steve Terry, senior officer at Border Force, said: "Our officers work 24 hours a day at ports, airports and mail sorting centres to identify and seize fake goods.

"The international trade in counterfeits is linked to serious and organised crime and undercuts honest traders.

"Customers are also purchasing inferior and sometimes dangerous goods, which is why it is so important to crack down on this trade.”

More than 12,000 fake kits have been prevented from entering the UK. Credit: Leicestershire County Council

Seizing fake goods protects unsuspecting fans but also legitimate companies from being undercut.

Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: “People across the country are excited about the World Cup and fans should be able to expect that the World Cup merchandise they are buying is genuine.

"Legitimate businesses should also be able to operate without being undermined by criminal businesses flogging fakes."