A massive £1 million haul of counterfeit replica football shirts has been seized following a raid on a warehouse in North Staffordshire.
Dozens of boxes of fake shirts for some of Europe’s top clubs, including Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Porto and Paris Saint-Germain were found in the confiscated collection.
The seized haul holds a retail value of more than £1 million and was discovered by Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards officers.
The North Staffordshire warehouse was raided after information was uncovered in an investigation at East Midlands Airport, Leicestershire near to Castle Donington.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities, has explained that it is not simply the potential loss in revenue to clubs that comes with fake shirts, but also the serious health risk they can pose.
She said: "As well as taking money from reputable businesses, there is no guarantee that counterfeit clothing like these shirts meets high standards and safety legislation, making them potentially dangerous.
"We have had cases before where fake clothing does not pass fire safety tests, sunglasses that don’t offer protection from UV rays and fake electronic that have exploded whilst in use. These products may be tempting because they look like a bargain, but it’s not worth the risk to your health and safety."
Information was uncovered as a result of a project at East Midlands airport to try and discover dangerous items across the country.
The investigation was led by the national trading standards safety at ports project which worked across 14 different authorities at ports, airports and postal hubs to find dangerous and illegal items like toys, clothing and electrical appliances.
This was when it was discovered that the fake shirts were being imported to a North Staffordshire warehouse.
Along with the counterfeit shirts, the raid also confiscated fake mobile phone components, sunglasses and razor blades.
It was reported last year by the European Commission that of the number of counterfeit goods seized throughout 2016, 34 per cent were "products for daily use and were potentially dangerous to consumers’ health and safety".
Commenting on this trend, Gill Heath said: "The increase in the amount of dangerous and counterfeit products seized at ports is a worrying trend.
"People should always buy from reputable retailers, as that way you will have peace of mind that these products are safe, and that the money you pay is going to legitimate sources and not potentially funding criminal activity."