Christmas Shoppers in London
Reports suggest that fake goods have flooded the UK market ahead of the festive season. Reuters

Christmas shoppers have been warned that hundreds of dangerous counterfeit goods are entering the British market this festive season.

The Daily Mail writes that the UK Border Agency has seized thousands of fake items, including iPhones and iPads, in recent months.

The newspaper reported that the UKBA warned that shoppers can be left with products which are, at best, inferior to genuine ones and, at worst, harmful or unsafe.

"We're warning people to be particularly wary of buying cheap items online or from unofficial traders," the newspaper quotes Grant Miller, who is UKBA representative at Heathrow International Trade Division.

"It's easy to be tricked into thinking you're getting a bargain, but in the run-up to Christmas our message is that if something appears too good to be true it probably is."

In past few months the UKBA has seized counterfeit toys, UGG Boots, hair straighteners, designer clothing from different airports, ports and border checks.

"We are dealing with a huge criminal business. The international trade in counterfeit goods is serious organised crime and, for the gangs behind it, it is low-risk and high-reward," said Immigration Minister Damian Green, as quoted by the newspaper.

"Intellectual property crime is a serious economic threat, and it's estimated to be worth around £1.3 billion in the UK each year.

"That is why we have UKBA officers operating 24 hours a day at ports, airports and mail sorting centres and they have seized thousands of counterfeit items that could otherwise have ended up as gifts this Christmas."

Fake items can be sold in the open market as well as through online shopping.

"Occurrences of counterfeit products on Marketplace are rare and we have an established process in place which enables third parties, including rights holders, to provide us with notice of counterfeit product," a spokesperson of Amazon online retailer told the newspaper.

"Every customer who orders on is covered by a guarantee and will be refunded or given a replacement if they receive counterfeit goods from a marketplace seller."

"Trading standards are working hard with other authorities to stop criminals ruining consumers' festive spirit as millions of low-quality and potentially dangerous counterfeit products are flooding the country in time for Christmas, particularly in markets, car boot sales and online," Ron Gainsford, the chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, told The Daily Mail.