Fake football shirts seized at Coventry postal hub
Thousands of fake football shirts have been seized at one of the UK's largest mail sorting centres just days before the World Cup starts.
Representatives from Adidas, Nike, Puma and Umbro and counterfeiting experts are checking parcels at the international postal hub in Coventry.
They are targeting fake England and Premier League football shirts.
Immigration minister Damian Green said smugglers undercut honest businesses by an estimated £11bn a year.
Fake shirts can cost from £9 to £30 via mail order whereas genuine ones cost between £35 and £48.
'Bring before courts'
The officials are targeting items from China, Thailand and Malaysia where the black market fuels organised crime and is linked to child labour and workhouses.
Mr Green added: "People often don't realise that the profits made by these smugglers are ploughed straight back into other criminal activities such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.
"UK Border Agency officers will continue to crack down on this illegal trade by seizing fake shirts and helping legitimate manufacturers bring those criminals responsible before the courts."
Syd Rasheed, of the Premier League's anti-counterfeiting programme, said the smugglers targeted unsuspecting fans.
"Many football fans buy what they believe to be genuine replica shirts but end up with poor quality rip-offs with the money used to pay for them often funding other types of criminal activity.
"We advise all football fans to purchase replica shirts from official club stores or websites or properly licensed retailers."