Trading Standards swoop on rip-off sellers outside Turf Moor

Thursday, December 06, 2018

A multi-agency operation outside Burnley FC on Wednesday 5 December resulted in the seizure of 349 counterfeit items including hats and scarves.

The items were confiscated from two stalls by officers from Lancashire's Trading Standards Service, and advice on unlicensed street trading given to three sellers by officers from Burnley Borough Council's Licensing Team.

Detailed advice on fair trading issues was provided to all traders found dealing outside Turf Moor. Counterfeit goods seized included items bearing Burnley, Manchester United, Liverpool and other Premier League trademarks.

This follows a Trading Standards operation on Burnley town centre shops and stalls in summer 2018 where 455 counterfeit Burnley FC and Premier League items, from shirts to iPad covers, were seized from 3 retailers.

Every year football fans in the UK spend many millions of pounds on scarves, badges and other memorabilia, with the profit from these sales helping their clubs to buy the best players and compete with their rivals. However, counterfeit football memorabilia is big business and it's a growing problem for both fans and football clubs.

Burnley FC is Lancashire's only Premier League club, and a major local employer, with a proud history going back over 130 years - but competing financially and for top players is not easy in one of the world's biggest leagues.

So when the club identified a problem with a number of determined counterfeit sellers outside the ground on match days, they called on Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards Service to assist, and an operation was carried out outside the ground before the Burnley v Liverpool game on 5 December.

All goods seized have been signed over for destruction, and warnings issued on the understanding that the operation will be carried out again later in the season, and that next time stronger action may be taken. Trading Standards have warned sellers that those found selling counterfeit goods can be prosecuted and may receive an unlimited fine or a 10-year jail sentence under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Sales of counterfeit memorabilia brings downsides for everyone in football. For fans, the products are usually of poorer quality, with no chance of getting a refund if there is a fault. For the club, rip-off products reduce their income and potential to invest in the team.

No-tax counterfeit goods also have a negative effect on the UK economy and contribute to the loss of jobs. And most counterfeit goods come in from China where they are made in unregulated sweatshops.

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Trading Standards advise that consumers should examine items to check whether they're the real thing.

"Look for genuine packaging and labels, check the quality of fabric, printing and labels, and watch for spelling mistakes. We'd urge fans to support the club they love by buying genuine items."

A spokesman for the Premier League said: "The Premier League and the clubs are committed to reducing the trade in counterfeit merchandise and are hugely appreciative of the support from Lancashire Trading Standards."

If you have concerns about the sale of counterfeit goods, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Tagged as: Consumer Advice


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