An EU- funded report has found that many of the fears stoked up by the fashion houses anxious to protect their profits against counterfeits are groundless.

The report rejects the popular myth that fake designer goods fund terrorism and organised crime, and the wild claims of losses to manufacturers which it says are based on the assumption that someone buying a very cheap counterfeit would have otherwise bought the real thing at the full price. It notes, in fact that fashion fakes can actually help promote the real thing.

It also notes the curious enthusiasm of customs officials for protecting rich manufacturer’s profits and sensibly advises authorities to concentrate their efforts on the lethal trade in fake drugs and fake aircraft parts, which do serious damage.

Currently it is not illegal to buy fake fashion goods in the UK but it is in France and Italy, where the manufacturers have a strong lobby, and possibly a sponsored relationship with their governments.

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