London 2012: counterfeit Olympics merchandise seized

Fake gym bags and cigarette lighters were found in a container from China

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Thousands of counterfeit versions of official London 2012 merchandise have been seized by customs teams.

The largest haul was of 7,000 Olympic bags and 540 cigarette lighters at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk.

More than 400 vests were seized at Dover, 100 polo shirts and football tops were found in Coventry and plastic ticket holders found at Heathrow.

The organisers of London 2012 said counterfeiting undermined their ability to raise funds to stage the Olympics.

The seizures were made between March and May.

The shirts were found at Coventry's international postal hub, while the ticket holders found at Heathrow Airport were found packed in boxes and weighed 220lb (100kg).

'Inferior quality'

Kevin Sayer, a Border Force officer at Felixstowe, said: "Some of the indicators in the way the shipping was organised made it worth us having a look and opening the doors of the container.

"It was right at the back of the container among a load of other goods - some of them illicit, some not."

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

Chris Townsend, commercial director for the London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games (Locog), said the fake goods undermined their ability to raise funds.

He added: "The fake goods themselves are likely to be of inferior quality and not meet the stringent safety and sustainability standards that all official products must meet."

Locog said all official merchandise bears a hologram which, when tilted, shows the London 2012 logo rotating.

The Border Force said it would not be bringing any criminal charges in these cases, as it was up to the rights holders to bring a private prosecution against the importers of any counterfeit goods.

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