More than £140,000 worth of goods seized from Oxford Street American candy store
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Police have seized more more than £140,000 worth of goods from the 'American' candy stores and souvenir shops on Oxford Street.
The sweet and souvenir shops that also tend to sell sunglasses, vapes, phone accessories have been dominating London's shopping high street.
There are currently 29 of these candy and souvenir shops dotted up and down Oxford street where flagship shops like HMV and Forever 21 once stood.
The vast number of them had started to raise suspicion among officials and members of the public, since more and more seem to appear, but customers are hardly ever seen going inside.
It wasn't long before Westminster City Council launched an investigation in to the shops, and police raids began.
Recent crackdowns by Westminster Council Trading Standards and Met Police have found that many of the products on sale are either fake of illegal.
In this latest raid, vapes that contain more than the legal amount of nicotine, and fake Apple and Gucci products were among the products seized.
In one shop, police found 3,000 illegal vapes with excessive nicotine that they believe had been snuck into the UK through customs.
In another, they seized £96,000 worth of fake clothing, travel adaptors, air-pods, sunglasses, power banks, and phone covers.
At some stores, customers claimed that they were seriously overcharged for products.
For example, one customer claimed to the council that they had paid £25 for a vape, only to find that their bank had been charged £100.
Martin Tuohy, a council trading standards manager told the BBC that most of these illegal products were likely snuck through UK customs and kept in hubs in Manchester and London before they were distributed in shops across the city.
Westminster City Council's Adam Hug noted that the council was currently dealing with 'a sophisticated and determined rack that exploits UK legal loopholes to trade from shop lets', adding that the council were also in the process of chasing £9m in unpaid business rates through the courts.
The council claimed that, in the last 15 months, the total amount of fake or illegal goods seized in Oxford Street's US-themed candy stores amounts to over £1 million.
In a raid just last June, officials seized over £100,000 worth of counterfeit or illegal goods.
Adam Hug called out landlords at the time for 'turning a blind eye' to the subletting of their properties to businesses that aren't 'commercially viable' and are 'swindling their customers' and 'cheating the UK taxpayer'.