Olympics-Fake flags from China seized at Heathrow

LONDON, July 20 Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:45pm EDT

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LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - A consigment of 10,000 fake Olympic flags from China has been seized at London's Heathrow airport and will be destroyed, customs officials said on Friday.

The Border Force said in a statement that the flags and pieces of bunting with the Olympic rings on were discovered on July 10 and would have had a resale value of around 100,000 pounds ($156,300).

Checks with Games organisers LOCOG had confirmed the flags, in a consignment weighing 800 kgs, were fakes. The importer in south London was not thought to know they were illegal.

"Counterfeiting is not a harmless crime, it is a huge criminal business estimated to cost the UK economy around 1.3 billion pounds a year," said Border Force Heathrow director Marc Owen in the statement.

"In the runup to the Olympics we have been working closely with LOCOG to thwart those who would seek to profit illegally from the Games and protect UK consumers from the fakers."

The Games open in London on July 27.

$1 = 0.6397 British pounds) (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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