Fake luxury watches, which would have retailed for £450,000 if they had been legitimate, have been seized in Newcastle.
The illegal haul included Omega, Hublot, Tagheuer, Rado, Tissot and Rolex watches stored in a silver case at an address in the Fenham area of Newcastle.
They were bought in from Sri Lanka and sold at “knock down” prices on social media sites to unsuspecting customers for between £100 and £130 each, council authorities say.
Cabinet member for Regulatory Services, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “These are the kinds of things sold by street traders when you go abroad on holiday.
“All bear legitimate high end trademarks but are phoney. Anybody paying good money for these will inevitably be left disappointed so I’m pleased that our Trading Standards team acted straight away to take them out of circulation.
“It’s a case of the old adage – if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. People may think they are getting a bargain but they are not. I hope that this seizure will act as a deterrent to anyone selling this junk to stop it before they lose what they paid for it and even risk prosecution and a criminal record.”
Time was running out for the watches when officers spotted them while monitoring business sites – a consumer protection practice undertaken by Trading Standards.
Trading Standards Manager David Ellerington, said: “The man was running a business site selling watches from a residential address. We tracked down the address and questioned the occupant who was very open with us.
“He handed over a case containing more than 50 watches with a street value of £5,000. This will now be subject to forfeiture proceedings.”