27/11/2014 06:07 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Frozen Fakes: Hundreds Of Dangerous Dolls Seized Before Christmas


Hundreds of potentially dangerous fake Frozen dolls have been seized by trading standards officers.

Queen Elsa and Princess Anna dolls were amongst 426 Frozen toys discovered in a lorry by officers at the Port of Dover in Kent. Fraudsters have spotted an opportunity to flog their counterfeit wares because the extraordinarily high demand for Frozen merchandise has led to many stores running out.

Frozen's Snow Glow Elsa, for example, is tipped to be the most in demand toy in the Christmas rush this year.

But stores are struggling to keep up with demand for the interactive doll who sings, speaks and lights up, with an official price of £34.99.

Many household chains and websites, such as Tesco, Toys r Us and Argos, list it as being 'unavailable', while any new stock is being snapped up as soon as it arrives on shelves.

Demand is so high that eBay entrepreneurs are cashing in by charging as much as £149.99 - a mark-up of almost 160 per cent.

And now counterfeiters are trying to get a piece of the action.

The seized Frozen goods were part of a haul of 1,960 counterfeit toys heading for the British Christmas toy market.

Also captured were 3,000 sets of Christmas lights which were not properly insulated and could have caused electric shocks.

The rest of the batch made up nearly 170,000 items and they are believed to have originated in China.

The lorry was stopped by Border Force officers after containers were spotted and Trading Standards was alerted.

Kent County Council trading standards manager Mark Rolfe said this week's seizure was one of the biggest hauls ever confiscated.

He said: "Not surprisingly, it was a very time-consuming task for our officers to go through the consignments and examine samples of every product.

"Some of the items we seized were clearly potentially dangerous and likely to be aimed at the Christmas retail market.

"We are pleased that we were able to protect the public from these shoddy goods and prevent any injuries they might have caused.

"Others were counterfeit, so purchasers would have been buying an inferior product to what they expected."

Sales of official Frozen dolls and merchandise are on course to hit all-time high for any movie franchise - overtaking the phenomenally successful Toy Story.

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