Police and customs authorities worldwide are warning the public to be vigilant with their gift-giving after they have seized over €16 million worth of fake toys during the recent festive period.
Close to 5 million counterfeit toys have been confiscated as a result of Operation LUDUS organised by Europol with the support of OLAF and the EUIPO.
Over 4 700 inspections were carried out across 24 countries between 19 October 2020 and 31 January 2021 in order to detect the illegal shipment and storage of counterfeit toys. So far, 11 fraudsters have been arrested, with investigations ongoing in a number of countries to dismantle the criminal networks putting child safety at risk. This is the first operation ever organised on such a scale targeting the sale of counterfeit toys.
RESULTS OF THE OPERATIONAL PHASE
Close to 5 million toys seized for a total value exceeding €16 million;
4 768 inspections carried out;
44 127 samples tested in laboratories;
125 judicial cases opened;
11 individuals arrested so far.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.
FAKE TOYS PUTTING CHILD SAFETY AT RISK
Toy cars, board games and dolls from popular children TV shows feature among the most seized items.
The confiscated pieces were almost exact copies of the real products and were extremely hard to distinguish. However, in almost all of the cases, the seized toys posed a serious health risk for children. These fake toys had not been subjected to the rigorous safety tests required by law and had no warnings or advice on the packaging