Christmas counterfeit toys warning from Norfolk trading standards
- Credit: Norfolk Trading Standards
People have been warned to be on their guard buying presents this Christmas - and not to fall for cheap, counterfeit gifts concealing hidden dangers.
The festive season can see unscrupulous traders try to con bargain hunters looking to snap up the latest toy trends.
And officers at Norfolk Trading Standards, based at the county council, said if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
According to data from auditors KPMG, over the past two years, 39 cases involving more than £116m of counterfeit and pirated goods have been prosecuted in the UK.
Last year, Norfolk Trading Standards issued a warning about fake versions of the must-have toy Fingerlings. They said the counterfeit versions 'could have safety issues', because they do not have to go through the same safety tests as the genuine toys.
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Vicky Conlon, lead trading standards officer, said there had been no comparable crazes which had yielded cheap imitators this year, but that people should still be cautious.
She said: 'We would advise people to exercise caution when buying from temporary traders, because they are not going to be there after Christmas if there is an issue with what you have bought.
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'Only buy from reputable retailers.
'Be wary if toys are being sold for lower than the retail price and be suspicious if somebody has stocks of toys which have sold out everywhere else.
'Look out for if packaging is lower quality or has spelling mistakes and look to see if there is CE Marking.
'That is a self declaration mark the manufacturer puts on to confirm it complies with EU safety standards.'
She said that there were a string of reasons why buying fake goods was a bad idea.
She said: 'The main concern is around the safety of the products.
'We have had quite a few issues with cheap and counterfeit toys.
'That can be toys with small parts, which are a choking hazard, or the magnetic putty, which has tiny particles in which can be swallowed.
'There's toys with heavy metal paints and those with phthlates, which is used in plastics to make them flexible,, but which can cause cancer if ingested.'
People can report concerns via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.