Destroyed for good

Herts Trading Standards burns a sample of seized goods
Herts Trading Standards burns a sample of seized goods

Fake designer and branded goods were sent up in flames to demonstrate a zero tolerance approach to counterfeit goods.

Sham Armani jeans, Nike trainers and Ecko hoodies were torched on Friday to highlight the county’s determination to stamp down on counterfeit crooks after thousands of fake goods were seized over the last year.

Many of the items seized by Herts Trading Standards officers every year come from stalls at Bovingdon Market.

Herts County Councillor Richard Thake, who oversees environment and community protection, said: “The issue of counterfeit goods is a universal problem but in Hertfordshire we just won’t tolerate it.

“Fake goods are often inferior quality and potentially dangerous so what may seem like a bargain could end up costing you more.”

In May this year more than £1 million worth of fake goods were seized at Bovingdon, and in July raids were carried out to help stem the flow of counterfeit goods reaching the market.

The items burned on Friday were just a sample of the more than 25,000 seized in raids across the county last year, estimated to have a street value in excess of £1 million.

Where possible fake goods have labels and logos removed and are then given to charity or recycled.

But in some cases this is not possible because the fake branding makes up a large part of the finished product.

In the last 12 months around 2.4 tonnes of counterfeit goods have been incinerated at a large waste recycling facility in the county.

The process has been used to generate power and leftover ash is used in tarmac and bricks.

Guy Pratt, the council’s assistant director for community protection, said: “Sometimes it is possible to remove labels from fake goods and recycle or donate them to a charity, but in cases where this is not possible, we to destroy them by incineration to ensure they are not able to get back on to the market.”

Anyone who suspects someone may be selling fake goods, or has purchased counterfeit goods, is asked to call Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 for help and advice.