AS Bury’s town centre police officers launch their efforts to keep people safe this Christmas another effort is simultaneously being waged to safeguard shoppers and businesses.

Bury Market and council trading standards officers are working to stamp out rogue traders and the sale of counterfeit products after joining a nationwide effort to curtail the problem.

These fake products are often untested, poor quality and unsafe, and purchasing them puts money back into the pockets of criminals.

Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing at Bury Council, said: “Counterfeit products are not only bad news for consumers, but also for legitimate, hard-working local business owners who risk losing sales.

“When counterfeits find their way into a market environment, the revenue goes to the black market rather than the economy. The trade in fakes is frequently found to be linked to organised crime – something that would horrify most shoppers or traders if they knew.”

To better protect consumers and retailers Bury Market and council have signed up to the Real Deal Campaign and Fake-Free Markets charter.

The initiative is run by the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG) ­— a partnership of law enforcement, government and industry stakeholders, supported by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).

It aims to reassure people that they can expect to buy and sell only genuine brands and quality goods when they visit the town’s markets, car boot sales, and selling groups which have been approved to bear the Real Deal logo.

Now in its 10th year, and although a large number of outlets have signed up to the scheme, the NMG is seeking to use the milestone to urge more markets to join.

Patricia Lennon, national co-ordinator of the ‘Real Deal’ Campaign for the NMG, said: “The Real Deal and ‘Fake Free Markets’ Charter has proved to be a huge reassurance for shoppers. We cannot praise highly enough the commitment we have seen from markets and trading standards services who have jointly signed up to the charter to protect their customers from buying untested, poor quality, potentially unsafe counterfeit products.

“In displaying the ‘Real Deal’ logo, a market gives reassurance to shoppers that it is a safe place to buy and sell. It also sends a strong ‘keep out’ message to any would-be traders in counterfeits who have no scruples when it comes to selling sub-standard products.”