Museum Displays Olympic Fakes

Trade in illegal merchandise

Merseyside Maritime Museum is highlighting the illegal trade in fake Olympic Games merchandise.

Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered gallery has a new display called A Sporting Celebration which runs until the end of the year.

On display is fake Olympics merchandise that includes counterfeit sunglasses, fake toys and clothing.

The new display also explores the controls in place to ensure a safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games. It compares the Games of 1948 with 2012 and looks at the demands of staging Britain's biggest ever sporting event.

The scale of the 2012 event contrasts with the last time London hosted the Games 64-years-ago. The country was just emerging from war, basic materials were in short supply, athletes moving between venues travelled through a bomb damaged city.

Alayna Ellis, assistant curator at Seized! said:

“With all major sporting events you see an influx in unofficial merchandise. In the last few months the UK Border Agency has seized everything from cuddly toys to tee-shirts which are of low quality and completely unauthorised. Money generated through the sale of counterfeit merchandise is often used to fund other illegal activity.”

Home Office Minister Damian Green said:

“Counterfeiting is not a harmless crime but a criminal enterprise posing a serious economic threat estimated to be worth around £1.3 billion in the UK each year.
“In this Olympic summer our officers have utilised intelligence sources, scanner technology and search techniques to successfully thwart those seeking to illegally profit from the Games.
“Border Force officers at ports and airports around the UK help monitor inbound freight to safeguard our communities from the illegal import of harmful items such as drugs, weapons and counterfeit goods.”

LOCOG commercial director, Chris Townsend said: 

“Fake products not only undermine our ability to raise the revenues needed to stage and host the London 2012 Games, but the fake goods themselves are likely to be of inferior quality and not meet the stringent safety and sustainability standards that all official products must meet.
“All official London 2012 merchandise bears the London 2012 hologram.  When tilting the hologram from left to right and up and down, you should be able to see the London 2012 logos rotating with a 3D effect - if you are unable to see this then the product is likely to be fake.”

Counterfeit items purchased over the internet – often by unsuspecting buyers – and imported through the postal system can be seized, leaving the buyer out of pocket. Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 595 000.

UK Border Agency National Museum (Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered) is located in the basement of the Merseyside Maritime Museum at Albert Dock. Free entry.  It lets visitors enter an unseen world of smuggling, intrigue and detection where things are not always what they seem.

Notes for editors

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than three million visitors every year. Our venues are Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, UK Border Agency National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

Merseyside Maritime Museum is situated in the Albert Dock. Uncover objects from the great liners Titanic and Lusitania, find out about life at sea and learn about the port of Liverpool. UK Border Agency National Museum (Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered) is located in the basement of the Merseyside Maritime Museum.


About Border Force:

The Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office responsible for protecting the UK border. Border Force was created on 1 March 2012 after being separated from the UK Border Agency. Border Force is responsible for entry controls and customs functions at the border, including our juxtaposed controls in France and Belgium, covering responsibilities including immigration and security checks, prevention of people trafficking, anti-smuggling of banned and restricted goods including drugs and weapons and protection of border revenue. The UK Border Agency continues to be responsible for immigration casework, in-country enforcement activity, the immigration detention estate and overseas immigration and visa operations.