Fake and dangerous toys, worth £500,000, heading for the Christmas market have been seized in Salford.
Peppa Pig, Disney’s Frozen, Angry Birds, and Super Mario counterfeit goods were among the huge haul.
Some are difficult to distinguish from the real products – but have no warnings or safety advice on the packaging and the materials have not been tested for use in toys which is required by law.
In one business unit, council trading standards officers and police recovered over 7,000 counterfeit Super Mario toys, over 350 fake Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and 2,000 knock-off Disney Frozen loom band sets.
In another, they seized 3,700 counterfeit toys, including 21 boxes of Frozen items, 20 boxes of Disney toys, 12 boxes of Spiderman toys and 10 of Toy Story.
Salford’s deputy mayor, Coun David Lancaster, said: “It took officers eight transit van journeys, two combi van journeys and two trips in a people carrier just to remove all the items. Those not needed for court evidence will be crushed and recycled.
“These counterfeit goods were targeted at children as young as four but contained sharp points, small parts which a child could choke on and lead in the paint used.
“They were unsafe as well as ripping off legitimate brands. I am delighted we have been able to take them out of circulation.”
The success came just days after Salford and Manchester councils and other partner agencies launched a campaign for “better business.”
The aim is to make sure all businesses operate from a level playing field by making sure they comply with all the laws – ranging from employment and tax laws to copyright laws and fire safety in premises.
Over the next few months, trading standards staff, officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Home Office illegal working and modern slavery teams, police, and the fire service will be visiting companies across Manchester and Salford.
Coun Lancaster added: “It’s about offering advice on how to make sure they are operating legally, safely and ethically – as much as taking action where they are not. It’s to make sure that businesses who do comply with the law aren’t put at a disadvantage by those which don’t.”
The goods came from two wholesalers in the Broughton area. Samples will now undergo safety testing.
Due to the size of the seizure, trading standards officers say that prosecution of the companies is likely.