News item

Huge consignment of illegal goods kept out of UK

Photo of seized good at port Kent CC

Thousands of dangerous and counterfeit goods have been prevented from entering the UK after being seized by KCC trading standards from a huge consignment entering Dover Docks. 

Among the 5,470 permanently seized items were 1,960 toys, including 426 character dolls from the blockbuster Disney film “Frozen” intended for the Christmas toy market. There were also 3,000 sets of Christmas lights which were not properly insulated and could have caused electric shocks. 

The rest of the consignment of nearly 170,000 items, which originated in China, were refused entry into the EU and were sent back to China after discussions with the importer. 

An articulated lorry and a container were stopped by Border Force officers after they were unloaded from the same ship and trading standards was alerted. 

KCC Trading Standards manager Mark Rolfe said: “This was one of the biggest hauls we have ever seized. Not surprisingly, it was a very time-consuming task for our officers to go through the consignments and examine samples of every product.” 

The confiscated items included: 

  •  426 “Frozen” dolls, confirmed by Disney as counterfeit; 
  • 480 mini laser stage lighting sets, which had no traceability details and were likely to fail safety requirements; 
  • 1,440 Peppa Pig look puffer balls, which contravened trademarks, bore no details of EU manufacturer or EU representative, were leaking an unidentified chemical and were unlikely to pass any safety examination.
A total of 164,400 other products were rejected for non-conformities with EU directives, including 135,924 toys destined for children’s Christmas stockings. 


Among the rejected items were 160 radio-controlled helicopters which had no manufacturer details on the enclosed plug and the pins on the plug were bent.  Trading Standards has therefore requested the most recent test reports for this product and evidence of conformity to the Radio and Telecommunications terminal Equipment Directive. In addition, the item claims to not be a toy – but the instructions state “8+”. 

Most of the rejected items carried no traceability markings and when requested the importer was unable to provide technical documentation showing that they conformed to EU safety legislation.   

They included: 7,776 Rock battle tops; 1,299 Zha Jiao Gai Qian watch repairers, which raised also concerns over the paint used on the handle; 125,467 Webrahmen sets (little bands that link together to make wrist bands); 2,998 battery-operated Xmas lights; 1,561 Modern Time dolls; 5,241 pairs of earrings; 1,000 music speakers; 7,200 Christmas hats with lights; and 1,440 glasses with enclosed lights, 306 plastic Christmas trees and 6,720 torches. 

Mr Rolfe added: “After inspecting all the items and carrying out necessary tests, some of them, such as gloves, vanity cases, bracelets and picture frames, were allowed into the EU. 

“Some of the items we seized were clearly potentially dangerous and likely to be aimed at the Christmas retail market. We are pleased that we were able to protect the public from these shoddy goods and prevent any injuries they might have caused. Others were counterfeit, so purchasers would have been buying an inferior product to what they expected. 

“Most of the rejected items lacked the proper paperwork and proof of manufacture, which is also illegal. They may or may not have been dangerous but without the necessary technical documentation my officers are unable to properly assess their safety and as such the goods are not permitted entry for free circulation within the EU”. 

“Either way, they will not be entering the UK for sale here.” 

In a subsequent seizure, more than 4,000 counterfeit GHD hair straighteners – conservatively valued at more than £360,000 – were also intercepted at Dover. GHD said these were similar to its 2013 Christmas gift range and it therefore seemed likely that these were also intended as seasonal presents. 

Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe said: “Border Force is determined to prevent counterfeiting and we have officers working 24 hours a day at ports, airports and mail sorting centres identifying fake goods before they reach the streets. 

“Counterfeit goods cause damage to legitimate businesses and traders and they leave customers out of pocket with inferior and possibly dangerous products. 

“We will continue to work closely with KCC Trading Standards and the public can play their part in disrupting the trade by ensuring they only buy from genuine retailers.” 


For further information contact Murray Evans at Kent County Council Press Office on 01622 694177 or email 

DATE: 26 November 2014