People described as “opportunistic individuals” have been stopped at crossing points smuggling counterfeit goods into the Republic, the British Bases said on Thursday morning.
Over the past month, officers have revealed a number of seizures of fake designer trainers as individuals look to exploit the counterfeit market in the north, a statement said.
“While commercial quantities of counterfeit footwear have previously been detected and seized at the crossing points many of the recent seizures are opportunistic individuals who are looking for a cheap deal,” head of SBA Customs and Immigration in Dhekelia Mark Hartley said.
“With an ever-increasing cost of living, travellers are looking to exploit the prevalent counterfeit market in the north to purchase designer goods at a reduced cost,” he added.
The counterfeit production of fake Nike, Adidas and Armani trainers can also be linked to something far more sinister than saving money, the customs chief said.
The market in counterfeit goods is estimated to account for around seven per cent of world trade.
“It is known that migrants have been smuggled into countries, coerced into selling counterfeit goods, whilst children are exploited for their labour in the production of counterfeit items. Often as young as six, children are forced into illegally working in violent and hazardous conditions,” Hartley said.
The illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods not only costs the Government huge amounts of money in loss of taxes, Hartley also said there is a cost to society, as additional law enforcement is required to tackle the problem and funds are diverted away from social services, schools and national health services.
Customs officials also confirmed vehicle crossings remain extremely high in the Bases, with “18,000 vehicle movements entering the SBAs across the two crossing points, with 160 persons refused entry in a week”.