HAMPSHIRE shoppers are being warned to beware fake and dangerous goods when looking for bargains in the sales.

The warning from Hampshire Trading Standards comes as thousands of shoppers are set to flock to retailers across the county to grab a bargain in the Boxing Day sale.

Counterfeit or fake goods are typically made with inferior or dangerous materials, whilst the profits made by rogue traders may help to fund criminal activity.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “We want to ensure that people do not get duped into buying fake goods at one of the busiest times of the year for online and high street purchases.

“Throughout the year, our Trading Standards officers carry out regular surveillance across Hampshire at locations such as markets and test unsafe and non-compliant products such as children’s toys and electrical items to protect consumer safety.

“In this way, we minimise the number of sub-standard and dangerous goods on sale, keep consumers safe, and help to prevent crime in our communities.”

Councillor Perry added that Hampshire residents avoided purchasing a total of £10.6 million worth of unsafe and counterfeit products this year, thanks to batch inspections and sample testing at shops, markets and shipping ports.

To ensure that shoppers remain vigilant, they are being advised to consider these points:

* Prices - be ready to question an offer with a price which seems to good to be true – it usually means it is.

* Toys - check that toys are suitable for the right age, are CE marked and have the name and address of the importer or manufacturer.

* Shopping online - look for signs that the website is using a secure, encrypted connection such as https:// in the web address. Look at the seller’s returns policy and search for reviews.

* Social media purchases – be wary of purchasing products via social media sites. It is notoriously risky as they can contain misleading advertising, counterfeit and unsafe products, subscription traps and many other scams, such as shortened web addresses containing malware.

The warning also comes after Counterfeit goods which included more than £1.5 million worth of Calvin Klein underpants were among thousands of fake items seized by Border Force officers at Southampton Port in the first week of December.

Also found at the Hampshire port were 450 counterfeit Dyson fans and Apple chargers worth approximately £182,500 and 2,112 Spiderman, Pokemon and Hello Kitty hand-held fans worth approximately £31,680.