News story

Counterfeit Christmas gifts seized by Border Force

Fake Harry Potter wands, “Paco Rabanne” perfume and “Beats” headphones among items intercepted.


18,000 bottles of “Paco Rabanne” and “Jean-Paul Gaultier” perfume, 3,000 cuddly toys and 941 “Nike Air Max” trainers were among tens of thousands of fake goods seized by Border Force in the weeks leading up to Christmas as festive shoppers are warned against buying counterfeit items as last minute presents.

Border Force officers at airports, sea ports and postal hubs detect and seize imported goods if they are counterfeit, banned or if the correct duty has not been paid. During a 6 day operation this December – just one example of activity - 83,000 items were seized at airports with an overall retail value of £3.5m.

Recent seizures

Other recent seizures across UK ports and hubs worth more than £1m include:

  • 18,000 counterfeit bottles of Paco Rabanne and Jean- Paul Gaultier perfume worth approximately £700,000
  • 900 fake Burberry scarves worth approximately £200,000
  • 750 fake Beats Pill portable speakers and 750 counterfeit Beats headphones estimated to be worth more than £325,000
  • 100 Harry Potter wands and 3,000 counterfeit Pokemon, Nintendo and Minecraft cuddly toys worth approximately £65,000
  • 137 fake Louis Vuitton handbags estimated to be worth more than £109,600
  • 300 fake Sony Playstation PS3 controllers worth approximately £15,000
  • 941 pairs of fake Nike Air Max trainers estimated to be worth more than £94,100

Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said:

The international trade in counterfeit goods undercuts honest traders, and is linked to serious and organised crime, sweatshop working practices, child labour, and even the funding of terrorism. Unsuspecting customers are also left out of pocket with inferior and potentially dangerous goods.

We are determined to crack down on this criminality and Border Force officers help protect consumers by working around the clock at ports, airports and mail sorting centres identifying and seizing counterfeit goods.

Once items are seized, Border Force’s specialist international trade teams work with the owners of big brands to establish whether or not goods are genuine. If they are fake, the goods are destroyed and the rights holders can then decide whether to privately prosecute the importers.

Intensified efforts

Matthew Cope, Deputy Director of IP Enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office, said:

We have worked with Border Force and rights holders at borders across the UK to intensify our efforts in targeted pre-Christmas activity.

We have detained goods destined for shops and markets, proving the worth of the co-ordinated approach. It is important that we have a united response and that people are protected from this type of crime.

Anyone looking for a bargain this Christmas should be wary of prices which look too good to be true, from cut price alcohol to heavily discounted electronics, and report anything suspicious.

Anyone who has been sold counterfeit goods or knows someone who is selling them should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Published 23 December 2016