Market operators and enforcement agencies are pulling together to crack down on the sale of illicit products being sold in UK markets and car-boot sales ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

In Staffordshire, a public information campaign is urging shoppers to be vigilant at markets and boot sales over the weekend in order to avoid buying counterfeit goods.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said: “The bank holiday weekend will see numerous car boot sale and market events taking place. These are great family events and we support the organisers running them.

“We want people to avoid the pitfalls of counterfeit goods this holiday weekend and throughout the year – protecting themselves and legitimate businesses.

“Counterfeit goods can be hard to detect just to look at, so a knock down price is a good indicator. These items are shoddy, they may be dangerous and their sale puts local jobs at risk.”

Meanwhile, in Bristol, one of the city’s longest-standing markets has committed to fake-free trading by signing the Real Deal Charter with Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards service.

Cotswold Markets, which operates at the wholesale fruit market venue in the St Philip’s Marsh area of the city, now forms part of a movement of over 500 markets across the country that have signed the voluntary Real Deal Charter with their local trading standards services to say ‘no’ to fakes.

Graham Mogg, chair of the National Markets Group for IP Protection, said: “The sale of counterfeit goods at Bristol Sunday Retail Market has had an adverse impact on consumers and legitimate businesses over many years.

“This milestone signing of the Real Deal charter is the result of some fantastic collaborative work over the last 12 months and I congratulate all concerned.”

HM Revenue & Customs estimates that the illegal tobacco market cost the UK taxpayer £2.5bn in 2016/2017 and £3.1bn including crossborder shopping.

One in five cigarettes consumed in the UK (19%) are now not thought to have had UK tax paid on them, an increase of 72% since 2011/12.