Surrey trading standards officers have impounded 2,600 fake Fingerling toys brought in from China through Heathrow Airport.
They barred the toys from entering the UK because they lacked crucial paperwork proving the products met safety standards and failed to include contact details for the manufacturer.
Fingerlings – robotic animals such as monkeys and unicorns which fit on a finger and blink, babble and turn their heads – have been described as this year’s “must-have” Christmas toy and are sold out across many retailers.
A total of 2,581 toys across two consignments were sent to an inspection point in Surrey last month after being imported via Heathrow. Some were presented as Fingerlings while others were labelled Baby Monkey, Happy Monkey or Finger Monkey.
Officers from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards will now get the products destroyed to prevent them ever posing a safety risk to children.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “These toys are in great demand this Christmas but unscrupulous manufacturers are attempting to cash in on shortages by churning out copies on a mass scale.
“There’s often no way of knowing whether they meet strict toy safety standards and they’re also more likely not to work properly, with no easy way of getting refunds or replacements. To avoid fakes, we’d urge shoppers to look out for misspelt words or typos on the packaging and make sure the name and address of the manufacturer or importer is clearly visible in case there’s a problem.”
Anyone who has concerns about a product they have seen for sale or have already bought should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.