The biggest seizure in West Sussex Trading Standards history has been made after £1.3m worth of fake Apple products were recovered from a warehouse in London.
One phone call to Trading Standards six months ago about an overheating charger led to the huge capture of fake Apple chargers, batteries, cables, headphones and adapters earlier this week.
The investigation began when a concerned resident contacted Trading Standards after purchasing a charger from a shop in Haywards Heath, West Sussex.
Despite being branded an official Apple product and priced at £59, the consumer was alarmed at how hot it became when charging her Apple Macbook at home.
Trading Standards carried out a test purchase at the Haywards Heath store.
The charger was later confirmed to be unsafe and a fake by Apple.
The trail then led from Haywards Heath to another store in Brighton, and on to a warehouse in Kingston-upon-Thames.
An entry warrant for the London premises was executed on Tuesday, 1st August.
Nine Trading Standards officers were supported by Apple investigators and Metropolitan Police in searching the warehouse.
Over a million pounds worth of fake stock was recovered in the operation.
Products were instantly recognised as fakes because many had the same serial numbers – a tell-tale sign as all official Apple products carry unique serial numbers to identify them.
West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager Richard Sargeant said: “This operation uncovered the highest value haul of fake products we have ever been involved in.
“It is so important for two reasons.
“Firstly we need to protect consumers from purchasing potentially unsafe products.
“And secondly recovering £1.3m of fake goods helps protect those traders who sell genuine Apple products from being undermined in the market place.”
West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger, Safer Communities, Debbie Kennard, said: “Hats off to the Trading Standards team for recovering such a vast amount of illegal goods.
“It demonstrates the value of reporting anything suspicious to us, either by phone or by email.
“So please contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or online via www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport if you think something is wrong.”