Manchester residents are being warned to look out for fake poppies after the council’s trading standards team seized more than 1,700 bogus poppy products from a wholesaler in Cheetham Hill.
Officers discovered the illegal products – including pendants, earrings and badges, some of which featured the legend ‘Lest we forget’ – on sale during a routine inspection visit to the premises. An investigation to determine the source of the counterfeit goods is now ongoing.
The find comes after the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and The Royal British Legion (RBL) urged members of the British public to be extra vigilant when buying poppy merchandise for Remembrance this year.
The public’s donations are intended to support members of the Armed Forces community and their families – but could end up benefiting fraudsters if the merchandise turns out to be fake.
The public is being asked to look out for counterfeit goods in the shape or bearing the image of, the RBL’s familiar two-petal red poppy. The RBL has registered their rights to prevent such counterfeiting.
To help consumers beat the fraudsters, be a ‘responsible buyer’ and purchase your poppy from official RBL channels. If in doubt, buy through The Poppy Shop (https://www.poppyshop.org.uk), or the charity’s official eBay or Amazon pages – to be sure of authenticity.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, said: “It is appalling that counterfeiters would sink to the depths of producing fake poppy merchandise, to try to exploit the public’s passion to support members of our Armed Forces community.
“Our officers have confiscated a haul of these bogus products and will continue their investigations, to get as many of these illegal copies off the streets as soon as possible and prosecute those responsible.
“I encourage all Manchester residents to be observant and ensure that they are buying their poppies from approved Royal British Legion vendors, or the charity’s official websites, to ensure their generous donations reach the people who deserve them, instead of finishing up in the pockets of callous scammers.”
Claire Rowcliffe, Director of Fundraising, from The Royal British Legion said:- “It is a sad fact that there are people who actively defraud the public to take funds intended for the support of our Armed Forces community.
We would urge everyone wishing to purchase a Remembrance poppy brooch, to do so through official channels.
For example, you can buy from one of our trusted volunteers, from The Royal British Legion’s online Poppy Shop, or from one of our corporate partners.
We want to make sure that it goes to supporting those who have made such a unique contribution to our society.”
Today (Friday 2 November) is Manchester Poppy Day, with volunteers coming together from the Armed Forces, Manchester City Council, GMP and local businesses to raise funds at a range of city locations. To find out more, go to https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/community/calendar/regional-events/manchester-poppy-day.
If you think you’ve spotted fake poppy merchandise on sale, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.