By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter
An Oxford Street souvenir shop has been raided after allegedly trying to sell £100,000 worth of counterfeit goods – including 4,500 dodgy vapes.
Fake Apple Airpods, USB chargers with no safety labelling and fake PlayStation controllers were found in the latest crackdown on “souvenir shops”.
Westminster City Council officers, working with the Metropolitan Police, found 4,500 disposable vapes with excessive levels of nicotine. Police also removed 23 products which contained cannabis, for testing.
Pictures of the raid show 43 bags worth of illegal and fake goods stacked on the shop’s floor.
A further 420 counterfeit vapes and 2,366 Snus tobacco products were also confiscated.
More than 1,500 counterfeit goods worth more than £22,000 were removed from another tourist shop in Oxford Street on March 29.
Raj Mistry, in charge of city management at Westminster City Council, said the raid showed the local authority’s commitment to keeping Westminster clean and safe.
He said: “We are putting these questionable traders on notice that they will not be tolerated in our city.
“We’ll continue to take action against such unsafe trading activities in order to keep our residents and visitors safe.
“We will not allow those selling illegal or counterfeit goods in Westminster to keep up such unsafe practices.
“Sooner or later we will identify such illegal trading and we will seek prosecutions and the maximum fines.”
Assisting in the raid was John Dunne, head of the Westminster based UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA).
He said: “Trading in a safe and compliant manner is at the heart of our organisation’s values.
“As a body we work closely with Trading Standards officers across the country to get rid of these rogue sellers, which give our industry as a whole a bad name.
“It is important to ensure adult consumers can purchase safe products while also keeping them out of the hands of young people.
“We can offer extensive product knowledge, training and tools to officers as well as liaising with brand owners directly in the UK and China to identify items being sold that are fake – and hopefully that will aid in any criminal charges.
“We look forward to working very closely with the Westminster team in the future.”
Pictured top: Some of the goods in the shop (Picture: Westminster City Council)
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.