UK sees dramatic hike in fake electrical goods

Beats by Dr Dre headphonesThe UK has seen a six fold increase in the number of counterfeit electrical goods seized in the last four years, says a new report.

The increased activity comes at a time when UK councils have reduced spending on Trading Standards divisions by a little under 18 per cent, says retailer The Co-operative Electrical, which gleaned the data from local councils and the UK Border Force.

The value of counterfeit electrical goods seized has risen from £2.6m in 2009 to a staggering £15.7m in 2012, according to the report, while trading standard budgets have been reduced from £85m to just under £70m.

The rise in seized goods is predominately down to the explosion in demand for expensive designer headphones, the value of which has risen from just over £200,000 in 2009, to in excess of £15m in 2012. A spokesman for the Co-operative indicated that - anecdotally - there has been a high rate of counterfeiting of Beats by Dr Dre headphones.

Seizures of hair straighteners also saw a huge comparative rise, from almost nothing in 2009 to £172,000 in 2012, and once again anecdotal reports suggest Ghd brand items are being targeted by counterfeiters. Chargers, vacuum cleaners and batteries also featured highly among faked items.

In 2009, London Borough and County Councils prosecuted 372 people for the sale of counterfeit electrical goods, a figure which dropped to 245 in 2012, according to the report, which was based on data received under Freedom of Information act provisions.

James Holland, managing director of The Co-operative Electrical, said: "There are numerous issues with counterfeit electrical goods, the main ones being that they won’t work or that they will pose a safety risk as a result of shoddy manufacturing that is not subject to the same standards of genuine products."

"In addition, according to the National Fraud Authority … many fraudsters use the proceeds from selling counterfeit goods to fund drug dealing and other types of organised crime," he added.

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