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Trading Standards officers say they are seizing an increasing volume of counterfeit products that are destined to be sold on social networking sites.
The warning comes as potentially lethal goods that can easily be bought online are being passed off as Christmas presents.
Some of the thousands of fake goods seized by Warrington Trading Standards in their crackdown in the run up to Christmas.
Warrington Trading Standard is cracking down on the sale of counterfeit goods in the run up to Christmas on Facebook and places of work.
The campaign organised by Warrington Trading Standards will highlight the dangers of purchasing counterfeit goods – illegal copies passed off as originals, and often bearing fake labels – and how to report sellers to the authorities.
Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr David Keane, said:
“Buying counterfeit goods can be dangerous. It can pose real risks to your and your family’s health because counterfeit manufacturers don’t often comply with strict quality standards or safety checks the way legitimate brands do.
For example, counterfeit electrical goods may pose a fire risk due to overheating or incorrect wiring.
Also, counterfeit goods may contain hazardous substances. For example, counterfeit alcohol sometimes contains methanol, which can cause blindness and even lead to comas if it’s consumed.”
Individuals can face 10 years in prison for selling counterfeit goods, and employers can face 14 years’ imprisonment if counterfeit goods are sold on their premises.
The council’s public protection manager, Peter Astley MBE, warned: “If you suspect someone is selling counterfeit goods, or if you think you may have accidentally purchased counterfeit goods, please phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, on 08454 040506.
Or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.