Millions of sub-standard face masks and thousands of fake hand-sanitisers have been seized in Bexley and at Heathrow Airport since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

London Trading Standards (LTS) said there has been a "surge in firms attempting to import sub-standard face masks, many with faked safety certificates."

Trading standard teams stopped 6.5 million sub-standard face masks and 8,000 counterfeit hand sanitisers coming into London since the pandemic started.

The majority were stopped at Heathrow Airport, whilst trading standards officers also seized identical fake sanitiser products on sale in Bexley.

LTS said the majority of masks seized had been labelled with false claims and certificate's, meaning 4.25 million had to have their labels changed before they were released.

News Shopper:

A total of 2.25 million masks did not even comply with legal safety standards.

The teams also seized 8,000 fake hand sanitisers after officers grew suspicious at thousands of identical packaging, labelling, even batch codes, just with different brands like Andrex and Comfort.

London Trading Standards Operations Director, Stephen Knight, said the teams at Heathrow "play an important role in protecting consumers from unscrupulous businesses seeking to bypass EU and UK safety laws.

"There has been a surge is firms attempting to import sub-standard face masks, many with false labelling or faked safety certificates.

"Trading standards teams are being pragmatic in seeking to let these important goods through, once misleading labelling is removed, and the necessary safety compliance can be shown. However, we will continue to protect consumers from unsafe goods.”

As well as stopping dodgy imports, trading standards are increasingly concerned about unsafe UK-made hand sanitisers being sold that fail to meet safety standards.

Tower Hamlets trading standards have for example recently found UK-made hand sanitiser on sale online from a local shop that contains the banned substance Triclosan.