Warnings have been repeated about the availability of fake England football shirts on the black market as the Three Lions appear at the semi-final stage of the Euros today (Wednesday, July 9).

Profiteers are seeking to cash in on England’s progress through the tournament in Germany by selling counterfeit football kit, appearing to bear the authentic Three Lions’ FA insignia and the logo of kit supplier Nike.

Northumbria Police highlighted the issue in mid-June as the 2024 tournament got underway, after the seizure of almost 200 suspected fake England shirts and 27,000 illegal cigarettes, along with a stash of other goods in North Tyneside.

Police, joined by trading standards officers from North Tyneside Council, recovered the haul after executing a search warrant at an address in the Meadow Well area of North Shields.

(Image: Northumbria Police)

The raid followed intelligence in the community suggesting that counterfeit goods may have been sold from the property.

Apart from the near 200 fake England football tops, said to be worth £17,000, 27,000 counterfeit, non-duty paid cigarettes, 200 unlawful vapes and a large quantity of illicit hand-rolling tobacco was also seized.

The illicit tobacco products and vapes were said to carry a street sale value of almost £19,600.

Neighbourhood Sergeant James Younas, of Northumbria Police, thanked members of the community for reporting their concerns and said the force and its trading standards partners were determined to remove these illicit items from circulation.

He said that although they may seem harmless and people may be tempted to buy them amid the excitement of England’s progress in the competition, the sale of such items is often linked to wider offending and organised crime.

Sgt Younas urged fans to be careful what they buy and to check the merchandise is being purchased from reputable sources.

Now, on the eve of England’s semi-final match against the Netherlands, in Dortmund, police nationally have reported the arrest of eight people and the seizure of almost £100,000-worth of fake England shirts in anti-counterfeiting seizures.

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at the City of London Police, along with the Intellectual Property Office, is targeting counterfeiters seeking to profit from the national team’s success, so far, in the tournament.

Counterfeit kit worth an estimated loss to the industry of £98,300 have been seized across the country by PIPCU so far in the tournament.

(Image: The City of London Police)

The eight arrests made were for offences relating to the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Emma Warbey, of PIPCU, said: “Few events match the UEFA Euro tournaments when it comes to pulling in a global audience.

“The popularity of the event means there is significant demand for merchandise, with fans buying these products to demonstrate their support for their country.

“Sadly, the increased demand for merchandise also leaves consumers and brands open to the risk of counterfeiting.

“It’s a lucrative business, with criminals relying on the demand for cheap goods, alongside low production and distribution costs to fund other illegal ventures.

“We’re sending a clear message that the links between counterfeiting and other crime, alongside the low quality of the counterfeit products, can never amount to a good deal.”

Apart from the North Tyneside seizures, five people were arrested at a shop and five residential addresses in Camden, north London, following the seizure of about 6,000 counterfeit items.

In Sheffield, officers seized £25,000-worth of counterfeit products, including football kits, and a man was arrest and released under investigation.

Shirts worth an estimated £50,000 were seized from a shop and residential address in Haslemere, Surrey, from where a man was also arrested and released under investigation.

(Image: The City of London Police)

Clothing worth £13,700 was seized from a storage unit in Enfield, north London, during a warrant executed in connection with the sale of counterfeit football shirts on Facebook Marketplace.

A man arrested in that operation received a caution on the condition he took down the Facebook Marketplace seller profile.

(Image: The Northern Echo)

Figures from the IPO show that the annual loss to the economy through counterfeiting and piracy is £9 billion, which is estimated to have cost about 80,000 UK jobs per annum.

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The latest IPO research shows that 12-per cent of people who purchased sports products have also bought counterfeit items in a similar category, with the highest demand from people aged 25 to 34 years.

Among the advice issued by PIPCU and IPO to potential purchasers is buy from reputable sellers and to check the price of products, which, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

They should also look out for signs of poor quality, pay attention to details, be wary of swing tags, which should have a unique product code barcode sticker, and watch out for pen marks on care labels.