Brits warned knock-off Christmas presents help to fund evil people smuggling gangs

SHOPPERS are being warned to avoid knock-off Christmas gifts which help fund gangs that smuggle people across the Channel.

It comes after Border Force officers seized fake iPhones, Samsung handsets and posh watches worth millions of pounds in the past six weeks.

Sniffer dogs have helped them intercept nearly 90,000 AirPods and Apple  chargers and leads worth £15million on the black market.

The recent haul at UK ports also included about 800 knock-off Rolex and Breitling watches.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is.

“The organised criminals bringing fake goods through our borders are also involved in other crimes, including drug trafficking, people smuggling and violent crime.

“Buying a counterfeit phone or watch doesn’t just undercut honest traders and damage the economy — it supports the trade in misery, violence and exploitation of the most vulnerable in our society.

“Border Force work night and day to stop these goods reaching the market but, in these final shopping days before Christmas, people should be vigilant.”

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Last night, a Whitehall insider said: “These people selling cheap knock-off goods at ‘too good to be true’ prices are also behind some of the worst crime in our community.

“Buying these items is not a victimless crime.”

To report fake goods being sold call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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