Counterfeiting in Northern Ireland ‘has grown due to internet’

The amount of counterfeiting has grown in Northern Ireland due to the internet, research showed.

Goods are frequently advertised for sale via social media, auction sites and online classifieds.

There are thousands of websites dedicated to the sale of counterfeit goods, a report from the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) said.

Last year the most common goods seized included clothing, alcohol, cosmetics, sunglasses, handbags, footwear, DVDs, CDs and electrical items.

On Friday, representatives from the task force used a stall at St George’s Market in Belfast to display counterfeit goods and highlight the dangers, particularly health and safety risks associated with “fake” goods.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid said: “The scale of intellectual property crime and distribution of goods continues to grow through the use of the internet – thousands of websites are dedicated to the sale of counterfeit goods.

“Consumers need to be aware not just of what they are buying but also that using these sites to purchase goods, leaves them open to identity fraud or having their devices and bank accounts compromised.”