Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary are working in partnership to help protect shoppers from being exploited by unlicensed street traders selling fake goods.

In the run up to Christmas, trading standards officers and police officers are patrolling Commercial Road and to tackle unlicensed sellers, selling illegal and counterfeit goods.

Shoppers are being urged to be cautious if you are offered items by unlicensed street traders in the city.

This advice is being issued after receiving reports of unlicensed street traders operating in the Commercial Road area and selling perfumes, aftershaves and tobacco that may be counterfeit and not as advertised. The council’s trading standards team are looking into these reports.

Often brought in from abroad before being branded with counterfeit labels in the UK, the knock-off products have been known to contain harmful chemicals.

For example, fake fragrances may initially look and smell the same, but unlike the genuine article, the scent of these cheap imports will quickly evaporate leaving consumers feeling short changed.

With the current cost of living being high, people may be tempted to buy cheap products, however, the advice is to only buy products from genuine businesses.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet this Christmas, instead of trying to save money by buying fake goods, which may seem like a bargain but could be unsafe, visit Portsmouth City Council’s cost of living hub for help and advice.

Councillor Ian Holder, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said:

“We want to help protect our residents from ‘rogue traders’. They may look like they are offering a festive bargain, but the purchase will almost certainly lead to disappointment on Christmas Day.

“To tackle this, we’re working with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary to stamp out this unlawful behaviour, as there is no place for it in our city centre.”

Anyone who wishes to report rogue traders should call the city helpdesk on 023 9283 4092 or email trading.standards@portsmouthcc.gov.uk