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LOCAL AUTHORITIES CALL FOR NATIONAL LEGISLATION TO CRACK DOWN ON MARKETS SELLING FAKE GOODS

15 July 2004

Councillors and Local Authority officers have given overwhelming support for proposals to change the law to crack down on the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods at local markets and car boot sales.

The cross-industry Alliance Against Counterfeiting & Piracy has launched a campaign to tackle this illegal activity, wrest local markets from the clutches of criminals and return them to local people. A package of legislative reform is being proposed which will address the growing problem of counterfeit and pirated goods being sold at occasional sales.

According to a survey of over 400 delegates at the recent Local Government Association Conference, nine out of ten councillors and officials support the introduction of national legislation to regulate local markets better.

Given the strong evidence of links to organised crime and its impact on local jobs and consumer safety, over two-thirds of councillors and their officers responding to the survey felt that counterfeiting and piracy should be viewed as a ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ serious crime.

Lavinia Carey, chair of the Alliance said: “Every weekend up and down the country, criminal gangs are infiltrating popular local markets ripping off the public and putting consumers and their families at risk. It is extremely encouraging to see that local policy makers are overwhelmingly behind our campaign to crack down on this crime.

The Alliance is calling on the Government to take urgent action. Small retailers are finding it hard to compete with this unfair, illegal competition, consumers’ safety is under threat and organised crime is profiting. A strong, effective regulatory regime is crucial to cut off the opportunities for criminals to dupe unwitting customers into supporting criminal activities and we are committed to working with Government to combat the problem.”

Bryan Lewin, the Trading Standards Institute’s Lead Officer for Counterfeiting, feels the problem is in danger of spiralling out of control. “We operate on a very small budget which simply isn’t enough to stem the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy. One of the biggest challenges we face is the growing number of car boot sales. These are often hotbeds for the sale of fake goods and this campaign from the Alliance is very welcome”.

Home Office Minister Caroline Flint MP acknowledges the importance of industry and Government working in partnership to tackle IP crime. “To effectively counter intellectual property crime it is important that Government and industry establish a dialogue and work together. The Government strategy on combating organised crime outlines a range of measures to deter and disrupt organised criminal groups who commit intellectual property crime and other offences”.

For information about joining the Alliance please contact
Susie Winter at susie@allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk
or on 020 7534 0595