THOUSANDS of pounds worth of fake designer goods were seized at a Hampshire car boot sale.

Police and trading officers impounded the stash of illegal goods after mounting an operation to target counterfeit products at Bursledon's popular car boot sale.

The successful bust caught one trader red-handed with 84 Lacoste tracksuits and 157 pairs of Nike trainers and a second selling counterfeit DVDs. The haul filled a Transit-sized van.

The first man is now helping police with their inquiries.

The car boot sale takes place every Sunday on land off Hamble Lane. The pre-planned operation was launched with help of the site owner, Maurice Doe, who had noticed over several weeks that designer branded goods were being sold at bargain prices.

Mr Doe said: "We welcome this initiative by trading standards and police as illegal traders impact on our reputation.

"We want everyone to go along and be able to grab a bargain but not if it means breaking the law.

"Site security staff will support the police by continuing to patrol the site to identify potential offenders and have already identified and banned a person from selling weapons."

The selling of counterfeit products costs legitimate UK businesses £220m a year.

Hampshire trading standards wants to encourage co-operation from site owners like Mr Doe as honest local retailers and market traders face unfair competition from trade in illegal goods.

Transactions in fakes lead to a huge loss of VAT and other taxes which could fund schools and hospitals and ultimately local consumers are helping to fuel the problem.

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "Counterfeiting is theft. Stealing the designs and brands of others is clearly linked to organised crime. Those producing illegal fakes are known to be using their profits to launder money from other crimes including drugs, gun smuggling and even terrorism."

Sergeant Melanie Golding, of Hampshire police, added: "We do not want to hinder legitimate activity or stop people making money, we simply want to stop illegal trading."

Anyone who knows of traders illegally selling fake goods should contact the police on 0845 045 4545 or trading standards by ringing its hotline number 01962 833620.