Fake poppy merchandise has flooded into the UK market as counterfeiters try to cash in on the Remembrance Day commemorations and divert donations from charities.
Merchandise worth £150,000 (around $200,000) – including 1,212 scarves, 5,400 badges, 1,200 keyrings and 600 brooches bearing the poppy symbol and/or the ‘lest we forget’ slogan – were seized on November 8 by Border Force officers at Tilbury docks en route to Manchester. The goods were in an air freight consignment that originated in China.
Suspecting copyright infringement, the officers contacted the rights holders to the two-leaf and four-leaf poppy symbols – respectively the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland charities – that are used to raise funds for the Armed Forces community and ex-service personnel.
“Had these fake goods entered the market, they could have cheated thousands of pounds from unsuspecting members of the public and diverted vital funds away from the [charities],” said Mark Kennedy, Border Force acting deputy director.
In a joint statement, the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland said the trademarks must be protected “so that the public can be sure that their donations are going directly to a registered charity.”