Steer clear of comically counterfeit Star Wars merchandise!!

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Horrendous copies of official Star Wars merchanside are predictably doing the rounds as the new film in the popular franchsise arrives in cinemas.

When wholesale trader Karl Baxter ordered a discount batch of toys just in time for the new film, he was excited to have a new stock of merchandise to cash in on the sci-fi frenzy.

But when they arrived, he realised that not only were they fakes, they appeared to have been designed by someone who had never seen or even heard of the films!

‘Toby-One’ Kenobi, ‘R2-3PO’ and ‘Daft Serious’ are among the imaginatively re-branded character names.

See more information here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3354564/Hilariously-named-fake-Star-Wars-toys-including-Toby-One-Kenobi-sent-shop.html

While it may be a quite amusing find, counterfeiters cause serious damage to the reputation of legitimate brands and are often involved in other serious crimes. Don’t let them have your heard earned money this Christmas!

 

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Beware of fake chainsaws!

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Of all the things you REALLY do not want to have safety problems with chainsaws must come pretty high up on the list!

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards have reported cheap, fake chainsaws are being sold in their area following a vehicle being stopped in south Cambridgeshire by the police. 26 unsafe petrol powered tools, including chainsaws, were discovered for sale and have now been destroyed.

All power machinery should have have the proper safety certificates.

Any deal that sounds too good to be true more than likely is. It is a very frightening thought what the consequences could be if one of these tools malfunctions in your hands.

Stay safe and stay clear of dangerous dodgy goods!

Dixie wins an award!

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Ace sniffer dog Dixie had a good night out recently as she picked up a gong for ‘Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement.’ She has helped trading standards teams across the UK to sniff out thousands of counterfeit cigarettes.

Watch this space – Solihull Trading Standards may be out sooner than you think with our little helpers too!

Tell tale signs of counterfeit alcohol

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Many of you might be tempted this Christmas to save a few pounds on a bottle of alcohol to help you celebrate. Is it worth it though? The taste certainly won’t be the same (or at all pleasant) and fake alcohol has even been found out to contain chemicals that can cause blindness. Not only are these criminals endangering your health but damaging legitimate businesses and the economy.

A recent crack down on fake alcohol sales in Islington has netted the treasury £460,000. Bogus or smuggled bottles of well-known whisky and vodka brands – such as Smirnoff, Vladivar, Famous Grouse, Teacher’s – and even cheap Italian wine are now much less common in Islington than five years ago.

The article below shows you ways to pick out the fakes from the genuine.

http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/crime-court/crack_down_on_counterfeit_alcohol_sales_in_islington_nets_treasury_460_000_1_4323271

If you think fake alcohol or tobacco is being sold in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

Fake and dangerous Maleficent dolls seized in Warwickshire

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Over 60 fake and dangerous ‘Maleficent’ dolls have been seized by Warwickshire Trading Standards before they reached the shop shelves in time for Christmas.

Tests on the products revealed they contained Phthalates. Phthalates are used to soften plastics. Children chewing toys containing phthalates can lead to them to ingest the chemical, exposure to which has been linked to damage to the reproductive system and an increased risk of cancer and asthma.

See an article about the seizure here:

http://www.tradingstandards.uk/extra/news-item.cfm/newsid/1843

Dixie sniffs out another stash

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Dixie the springer spaniel sniffed out 16,500 cigarettes and 3.5kg of hand-rolling tobacco as 12 premises in Glasgow were targeted by Trading Standards and HM Revenue & Customs.

See an article about the find here:

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/dog-detective-dixie-helps-seize-6041124

Solihull Trading Standards have used specially trained dogs in the past (and will be doing so in the near future) to check premises for artfully concealed stashes of illegal tobacco. These may be counterfeit or non duty paid goods VERY carefully hidden from our prying eyes.

Just to show you the lengths to which people will go to in concealing their dodgy stuff Solihull Trading Standards recently seized illegal tobacco concealed inside a hollowed out fire extinguisher, stereo speakers and in the cash till itself!

Sellers of illegal goods are going to increasingly bizarre lengths to cover up their crimes. We are utilising every method we can get to stop them. If you believe illegal tobacco or alcohol is being sold in Solihull please call us on 03454 05 06. These people undermine legitimate traders and will often be involved in more serious crimes.

 

First ‘FAKE SHOP’ to show you what NOT to buy!!!!!!!!!!!

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The UK’s first ‘Fake Shop’ has been opened in Yeovil, Somerset to reveal the danger of purchasing counterfeit goods.

Whether it is toys, clothing, alcohol or tobacco, the shop showcases what to AVOID.

£500,000 fake tobacco factory CLOSED!

Cigarettes are seen during the manufacturing process in the British American Tobacco Cigarette Factory (BAT) in Bayreuth, southern Germany, April 30, 2014. British American Tobacco, the world's No. 2 cigarette maker, posted improved sales volume for the first quarter, though foreign exchange rates were a big drag on revenue. Picture taken April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS)

A factory in Croydon which was churning out hundreds of thousands of pounds of fake cigarettes has been permanently closed following a raid by Trading Standards Officers. They found approximately 4,600 50g packets of fake Golden Virginia Hand Rolling Tobacco, with an approximate street value of £85,000, packed and ready for delivery.

During July, the criminal gang responsible produced more than 13,000 packets with a street value in the region of £250,000. It is estimated there was sufficient material on site to make a further £250,000-worth of fakes.

Fake cigarettes may be cheap but they often contain subtances which you really do not want to inhale!

See the article here:

http://news.croydon.gov.uk/council-team-raids-500000-fake-tobacco-factory/

Would YOU be able to spot fake alcohol?

Counterfeit-vodka-007

As the counterfeiters get smarter it can be increasingly difficult to visually differentiate between fake and genuine products. We have had numerous incidents of fake alcohol being sold in Solihull and sometimes even we struggle to identify the rogue bottles.

However appealing the cost of dodgy booze may be, the consequences of actually drinking it can be severe. The fakers are only concerned about making maximum profit and are certainly not losing any sleep over your health. Excessive quantities of ethanol in fake alcohol can lead to blindness.

So, what are the signs to look out for in spotting fake alcohol?

  1. The first tell tale sign is ALWAYS the price. If a deal seems too good to be true it most probably is!
  2. There are often mistakes in the labelling, such as no government information or correct health warnings.
  3. Small spelling mistakes often crop up – the counterfeiters aren’t the best wordsmiths in the world! For example, on a product seized in Solihull the ‘i’ was missing from Ayrshire, Scotland.
  4. Bottles of the same product may look different with small differences in colour, design and tops.
  5. The level of liquid in the bottles may vary as many fake productions are done by hand whereas genuine manufacturers use machines to produce a consistent, exact level.
  6. The label on the bottle may not be completely straight or its position may be subtly varied on different bottles.
  7. The fake product often smells different from genuine alcohol. Fake vodka, for example, can smell of nail varnish.
  8. Many people can immediately tell that the taste of their favourite tipple just isn’t quite right.

If you are suspicious that fake alcohol is being sold in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06

Online users warned of used car buying scam

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A Daily Star Online investigation has uncovered scammers are potentially using the legitimate AutoTrader vehicle selling website to defraud people out of thousands of pounds.

The con seems to run like this:

The scammer will get access to an authentic AutoTrader user’s account by using log in details captured by a previous ‘phishing’ e-mail which the seller has responded to. They will amend the original advert to appeal to bargain hunters.

The scammer replies to an interested buyer that they require a quick sale and enclose a (fake) link to buy through eBay’s Buyer Protection Scheme. The victim pays the money and never sees a car.

The IP addresses used by the ‘seller’ have been traced to Paris.

See the article in full here:

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/464307/AutoTrader-car-buyers-targeted-UK-eBay-scam