Warnings given to online sellers
Online sellers are being warned of the dangers of bulk-buying fake or faulty stock from abroad and selling it on the internet.
Leicestershire County Council's Trading Standards has investigated 40 complaints this year involving people individually re-selling dangerous or counterfeit goods from consignments bought abroad.
Officers warned those tempted to try to make a quick profit in the run-up to Christmas, that they could end up in jail with a hefty fine.
Trading standards operational manager Keith Regan said: "People sometimes don't even realise what they are doing is breaking the law.
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"They see themselves as an individual, selling stuff on social networking sites or auction sites, when actually they are operating as a business by importing these consignments and selling them on.
"By not acting as a conventional business – and conforming to all the rules and testing that they should – they are running a dangerous line, and will feel the full force of the law when we find them."
The dangerous items uncovered by Leicestershire officers included a stash of more than 1,000 faulty power adaptors used to run DVD players and a batch of mobile phone adaptors which had no insulation on the wiring.
"Ultimately, there is a fire risk, and a danger to health," said Mr Regan.
Anyone selling unsafe goods could be sent to prison for a maximum of six months and be fined £5,000.
Fake goods bought in bulk and sold online from Leicestershire this year included copied DVDs and counterfeit designer clothing.
If caught, the maximum sentence is 10 years and an unlimited fine.
David Bull, the council's head of Trading Standards, said: "Too many people are being tempted into making quick, easy money via the internet without realising they are breaking the law. We're concerned this could be more of a lure in the Christmas run-up.
"Trading Standards regularly monitors the internet and will take enforcement action against anyone dealing in unsafe and counterfeit goods."
If you have information about someone making a profit on the internet from selling fake or unsafe goods, e-mail: