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Oxford Street’s American sweet shops selling counterfeit goods not paying taxes


American sweet shops on Oxford Street in London have been selling counterfeit goods and have been failing to pay local business taxes according to Westminster City Council.

A report by the Council on June 15 said that there are around 30 of these shops in the area who have been selling counterfeit goods and who have not paid their business rates and taxes.

According to the Council, nearly £475,000 (€552,000) worth of counterfeit products had been seized over the last six months, with nearly £100,000 (€116,520) confiscated this week alone.

Included in this week’s haul on one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets were around 2,246 counterfeit Wonka Bars, 2,838 disposable vapes, 223 toys with no safety labels, 1,393 counterfeit phone covers and “much more”.

The vapes seized were both counterfeit and contained tank sizes that are larger than the legal limit, plus they were said to contain excessive nicotine levels.

As a result the Council have called on landlords to take a greater interest in who they let to and for greater transparency in company ownership.

Speaking to BBC Radio London presenter Venessa Feltz, the Leader of Westminster City Council, Adam Hug explained that bars which are very low in chocolate, or which could potentially be dangerous for not explaining allergens on its packaging, were often repackaged as these chocolate Wonka bars.

 He said: “Our trading standards officers are very clear that it is counterfeit goods.

“The public is being ripped off, the council and taxpayer is being ripped off because we’re almost £8 million [down due to] business rates evasion.

“These companies are popping up and then disappearing within a year to avoid having to pay business rates. So it’s a real problem.

“The net effect is that it undermines Oxford Street.”

Hug also admitted it was not clear who owned these shops, but the council was working with central government to try to find out and get to the bottom of the “whack-a-mol game” as soon as possible.

The council has warned that: “If you have bought these knock-off bars, do not eat them.”

Continuing they said they are doing what they can to stop Oxford Street’s American sweet shops from selling counterfeit goods but it is up to the public to stop buying these items and to put them out of business.

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