Goods seized by Falkirk Council's Trading Standards team have been given new life thanks to innovative recycling and reuse.
Counterfeit clothes made their way to a national charity, who rebadge and distribute the garments to disadvantaged young people.
And rubber from fake trainers will be repurposed and made into children's playground equipment.
Unsafe and counterfeit clothing, electrical items, jewellery, cosmetics, toys, vapes and tobacco are just some of the goods that have been seized and collected by Falkirk’s Trading Standards Team recently which are now heading for recycling or safe disposal.
The team has worked with other local authorities across Scotland to pull together the haul that if they were genuine products, would have a value of more than £1m.
Counterfeit goods and unsafe products have been captured through national operations sharing intelligence across Trading Standards teams; from monitoring local online selling groups as well as being seized at locations such as Grangemouth Docks.
Off the streets
Kirstie Crosson, Trading Standards Co-ordinator explained: “These goods do not comply with legislation for several reasons, and in some cases, pose a real danger to children.
"Getting them off the streets is our first concern as well as their environmentally safe disposal. We used to simply destroy them and take them to disposal sites however, increasing costs and concerns for the environment made us look elsewhere at what we could do.”
Richard Thomson, Senior Trading Standards Officer continued: “We have recently worked with other local authorities in Scotland who had seized similar products.
"Previously these would have headed straight to a secure landfill that costs us and other local authorities a lot of money but instead, we worked with a national charity that can remove many of the trademarks and then redistribute them across the country for use by children and young people.
“So, items such as sports tops and joggers can finish up being reused; tobacco reused as garden mulch and rubber from trainer soles for materials used in children’s playgrounds.
“As a result, many get a real benefit from the reuse and recycling of the products that have been made safe and can no longer make criminals illegal earnings or pose a danger to the public.”
The range of brands is extensive with well-known global brands featured in the seized fake materials including Adidas; Omega; Rolex; Timberland; Lacoste; Converse and many others being repurposed for use.
Kirstie added: “Some of the fakes look almost identical to the real branded items and only a trained eye would be able to spot the difference between the real and the fake, however, you would soon know when your trainer disintegrated after a few weeks’ use as the materials are such low quality.”
It is not only the poor quality of fakes that can dupe consumers as some products seized pose a real danger to the public. Richard said: “Authentic cigarettes have a Reduced Ignition Propensity safeguard and will self-extinguish if left unattended, so are likely to start a fire, while some of the cigarettes we have seized, will simply keep on burning if say, you fell asleep.”
Councillor Stacey Devine, Spokesperson for Public Protection explained: “Some of these scams are simply fronts for money laundering and serious crime both in Scotland and further afield.
"This recent haul of material is now safely off the streets and will benefit others as they are reused and recycled.”
The Trading Standards team continues its work with ongoing intelligence gathered throughout the year to take more dangerous and fake goods out of circulation.