25 November 2010

Fake DVDs fund crime

As the charity Crimestoppers continues its month-long Counterfeiting campaign, today we're focusing on the problem of fake DVDs.

In the run up to Christmas you may find yourself tempted to grab a 'bargain' and buy something which you know might not be a genuine branded product just to save a few pennies. But by buying fake goods you could be funding serious organised crime including drugs smuggling and people trafficking.

Then there's the disappointment of the person who realises they've been bought a fake...that's not the kind of surprise you want on Christmas day! And I'm sure you won't be too popular either!

Find out more about the links between fake DVDs and serious organised crime at fakesfundcrime.org

Meanwhile the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) have trained a crack team of specialist sniffer dogs who can locate hidden DVDs by smelling the chemicals used to make optical discs.

Watch sniffer dogs Lucky and Flo in action, fighting crime canine-style:

23 November 2010

Fake fags fund crime

Did you know...fake products may seem like a cheap deal, but you can actually get more than you bargained for.

Take fake cigarettes for example, they can contain all sorts of nasties. Tests have shown that as well as containing excessive levels of tar, nicotine and chemicals, fake fags can also contain sawdust, actual insects and (brace yourselves) rat droppings!

Also, because fake cigarettes are sold on the sly, it's harder for police to make sure that they're not sold to under-18s....so children are more likely to get hold of them.

There are a number of ways you can tell that your cigarettes are fake. To find out about how to spot fakes and for more information about the dangers of fake fags go to Crimestoppers' microsite: fakesfundcrime.org

Remember, you should be suspicious if you see anyone selling cigarettes on the street, at their own house or flat, from vans, in pubs and clubs, at betting shops, at car boot sales, in tanning salons and in workplaces. It's obvious that these are not the usual outlets where cigarettes are sold so be wary!

16 November 2010

Fake fashion funds crime

To tempt you into buying their products, counterfeiters often sell fakes at lower prices than originals would be sold for. Don’t be fooled – fake fashion items are often lower in quality than genuine goods and could fall apart soon after purchase.

But beware...buying fakes can be dangerous as well as inconvenient.  This is especially true for kids’ clothing, which is subject to legal safety standards that fakes are unlikely to comply with.

This can be very dangerous, for example if the material is flammable or in the case of hi-tech clothing items like insulated hiking jackets or waterproof shoes which fail to provide protection in extreme conditions. Fake sunglasses can also provide inadequate UV protection from sunlight leaving the wearer at risk of eye damage.

So you might think you're saving a few pennies but is it really worth the risk?  Or worse still, you might think you've got a bargain Christmas present for someone but then they realise they've been given a fake!
Read more about fake fashion at Fakesfundcrime.org or watch Crimestoppers' video Fake Fashion Funds Crime.

15 November 2010

A very real problem as charity tackles fakes

The charity Crimestoppers is urging people to call 0800 555 111 with information about who's making and selling fake products.

Crimestoppers has launched a national campaign today which highlights the links between fake goods and serious organised crime. As well as supporting criminals, buying fakes puts you at risk of identity theft among other dangers. Didn't realise? Well, entering your debit or credit card details into a website that deals in fakes means that you're essentially giving your card details, address and your name to criminals.

Links to serious organised crime

Many people don't realise that by buying fakes they are helping to fund criminals who are sometimes involved in other crimes including drugs and people trafficking, prostitution, weapons dealing and money laundering.

The campaign is divided into five strands:
  • Fake DVDs
  • Fake money
  • Fake tobacco
  • Fake fashion
  • The harm fake products can cause

For more information about the dangers of buying fake products go to the campaign microsite:

The campaign is being run with the support of the Home Office, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the Bank of England, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the Film Distributors Association (FDA) and clothing company Pentland.

Find out more about the campaign by visiting the Crimestoppers website.

12 November 2010

Thank you Crimestoppers volunteers!

Did you know that Crimestoppers is a charity who have a host of dedicated volunteers working across the UK to help make your community safer? Volunteers make a real difference to Crimestoppers. They make sure the anonymous hotline, 0800 555 111 and the secure online form are promoted successfully so people know that they can pass on information about crimes anonymously.

One of Crimestoppers' most dedicated volunteers is Bob Widdecombe, who stepped down as the Chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Crimestoppers Committee in September 2010 after a staggering 21 years of volunteering with the charity. That's a lot of volunteering!
Bob joined Crimestoppers in 1989 and oversaw the Devon and Cornwall Committee from the start. At the beginning, the committee had only six volunteers; now it’s comprised of 24 members!

Another of the charity's long serving Chairs, Terry Flynn, has also stepped down after being involved with Crimestoppers for the last five years and Chairman of the Wales/Cymru committee since October 2006. Congratulations go to Terry as he recently received the Cardiff Volunteer Award from South Wales Police Authority. We'd like to say a fond farewell to Bob and Terry and thank them for the time and effort they've so generously donated to the charity.

Find out more about volunteering with Crimestoppers here.

5 November 2010

Young volunteers recognised for their efforts!

I've been told by my friends in the north that the Cleveland Crimestoppers Youth Committee have cause for celebration after they scooped a group award at the first Middlesbrough Volunteers ceremony last week.

The young people on the committee, who generously donate their spare time to making their communities safer, won the award because of the fantastic work they did promoting Fearless - the youth brand for the charity Crimestoppers.

It's great to see the work of Crimestoppers' volunteers being recognised. If you'd like to find out more about volunteering for the charity Crimestoppers click here.

Great work everyone!