Consumer watchdogs are celebrating after scooping a top honour for their work to stop millions of pounds worth of fake products from flooding Birmingham.
Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards team received a prestigious national award from the Anti-Counterfeiting Group after seizing more than 85,000 fake goods worth a staggering £3million in the last year alone.
Jacqui Kennedy, director of regulation and enforcement at the council, said: “I am very proud of what we as a team have achieved, winning this award is a fantastic accomplishment.
“This award recognises the hard work that has been put in by council staff who work tirelessly putting a stop to the sale of counterfeit goods across the city.”
Donna Bensley, operations manager at Birmingham trading standards, said the team had received 221 complaints about fake goods in the last year – including counterfeit clothes, DVDs, booze, tobacco, cosmetics and even car parts.
“Counterfeiting is a serious organised crime – such fakes are always a rip-off and can be very dangerous,” she added.
The award was handed out to the team at the Trading Standards Institute’s (TSI) national conference, held in Brighton.
The Birmingham Mail’s Consumer Editor Emma McKinney also scooped a TSI Hero Award at the conference for her work to expose rogue traders.
Emma, who is behind a number of exclusive exposes about rogues – from cowboy builders to crooked car clampers – added: “I am constantly shocked and appalled by the lengths that rogue traders and con merchants will go to in a bid to rip-off their victims.
“It is only right that these crimes should be exposed by journalists like myself, not only to bring these offenders to justice, but also to help protect consumers from further exploitation.”
Leon Livermore, TSI’s chief executive, added: “Emma’s motivation and dedication is a credit to her profession.”