Tackling illicit trade in Fife

Archived news: published on Monday 20 Mar 2017 by Fife Council

Illicit trade, including counterfeiting, intellectual property crime and piracy continues to be a real threat within Scotland, nationally and internationally.

Members of Fife Council’s Safer Communities Committee heard how the issue is being tackled across the Kingdom by the council’s Trading Standards team working closely with Police Scotland.

Senior Manager Roy Stewart explained: “Our aim is to protect and safeguard consumers, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable and support legitimate businesses.

“Over the past few months we have secured some major successes through successful joint working with Police Scotland meaning that Fife consumers are being protected from poor quality goods and potentially unsafe goods from unscrupulous traders.”

In a recent joint operation involving Fife Trading Standards and Police Scotland, retail premises in Dunfermline were raided just before Christmas.  Officers seized an estimated £200,000 worth of goods believed to be counterfeit designer branded clothing, footwear, cosmetics, jewellery and electrical items that were almost certainly destined to be sold to Fife consumers.

And enforcement officers from Trading Standards seized suspected fake goods from two houses in Buckhaven and Kelty during a recent joint raid with Police Scotland. Officers were granted search warrants for the houses where the residents are suspected of selling counterfeit goods through Facebook.

The seized goods had an estimated value of £60,000 and included designer branded clothing, footwear, cosmetics, jewellery and electrical items.

Anyone found guilty of offences under the Trade Marks Act faces a substantial fine and/or imprisonment.

Roy added: “It’s important for consumers to remember that fake goods are not the bargain they may first appear to be. As well as the financial harm caused to legitimate businesses, there can be hidden dangers associated with fake products. We would always advise consumers to buy from a trusted source to help keep them safe and make sure the product is genuine.

“With resources becoming more and more stretched it’s important to recognise the work of Trading Standards in tackling criminality, as well as door step crime and rogue trading. If we fail to do this the residents of Fife are much more likely to become victims of these crimes rather than it being prevented by our direct interventions.”

Information on counterfeiting in Fife can be reported to Trading Standards online at www.fifedirect.org.uk/tradingstandards.

Information and advice on consumer rights is available from Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or at www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotland where you can also make an online complaint or enquiry.

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