Officials seize 70 fake designer handbags in Sheffield

Charlotte Staerck, purchasing manager at Handbag Clinic
Charlotte Staerck, purchasing manager at Handbag Clinic
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Trading Standards officers have seized 70 fake handbags being sold for an estimated £35,000 in Sheffield over the past three years.

Details have been revealed in a Freedom of Information response to the Handbag Clinic.

The company said Sheffield Trading Standards had seized 61 counterfeit handbags in two separate investigations during February and March this year.

Bags had labels and branding claiming they were made by Mulberry, DKNY, Prada, Moschino and Louis Vuitton.

Charlotte Staerck, purchasing manager at Handbag Clinic, said: “It’s great that these items have been prevented from being sold, but clearly these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

“Whereas once, it might have been common to see fake designer clothing, accessories, handbags and electrical goods being sold on market stalls or at car boot fairs, now this crime has, to an extent, moved online onto social media. Many of us are now familiar with ads for fake designer goods popping up onto our news feeds.

“It’s vital that the consumer is protected from receiving inferior goods and that legitimate businesses are not undercut by rogue traders. While some people may not mind buying phony goods as long as they are cheaper than the genuine article, others are being duped into buying bags they believe are real.

“It may seem like a victimless crime, but investigations have linked counterfeit goods to sweatshop working practices, child labour, organised crime and even the funding of terrorism.”

Charlotte added: “With some fakes, it’s obvious to anyone that they’re not real. But others can be more difficult to spot. The key is to look for detail and craftsmanship.”