TEAMS of trading standards officers have been staking out Southampton industrial estates in an undercover bid to snare illegal traders.
Officers have seized large quantities of cigarettes and hundreds of illegally copied DVDs, including pornographic material, as part of a new crackdown on counterfeit goods.
As part of the campaign to rid the city of illegally sold goods which cost the economy millions each year, officers visited the city's industrial estates, where counterfeit goods are often sold.
Information was gathered from legitimate businesses to help build a picture of when and where rogue sellers were plying their illegal trade.
As a result officers swooped on the hotspot areas and seized illegal goods from three different sellers.
As part of the campaign Southampton's trading standards team is contacting local businesses to warn them of the risks of buying from door to door sellers.
Southampton and Fareham Chamber of Commerce director Jimmy Chestnut welcomed the crackdown.
He said: "The chamber welcomes the approach by Southampton City Council and fully supports the council's determination to stamp out this illegal and damaging trade.
"Not only would we urge businesses to support the reporting of the counterfeit trade, but the public too.
"They may think that they have got a cheap deal but it is doing harm to the retail industry which means the consumer will suffer in the longterm."
Business owners and employees can receive a possible fine of £5,000 from magistrates for selling counterfeit goods, or as much as a ten-year prison sentence at crown court for trademark offences.
● If you know of a seller of counterfeit goods contact trading standards in confidence on 023 8051 1649 or e-mail email@example.com