Counterfeit clothing off to good causes in Africa and Asia

Local Trading Standards teams from Midlothian, Edinburgh, Fife and West Lothian have joined together to send a large batch of counterfeit clothing to less developed countries in Africa and Asia. The goods had been seized by Trading Standards officers but now that Court proceedings have finished, the counterfeit items will be de-labelled and will soon be making their way to Africa and Asia as part of an aid convoy.

The National Police Aid Convoys began their work in 1993 when a group of police officers used their influence, networks and negotiating skills to procure and then deliver huge amounts of humanitarian aid to the nightmarish refugee camps in Yugoslavia – to places that other NGOs couldn’t reach. Since then, their network has expanded to include people from all walks of life whose influence is felt in Russia, Albania, Zambia, Pakistan, Ghana, Rwanda and Bulgaria.

All the clothes were checked beforehand to ensure they were of suitably high quality to be useful to people in less developed countries.

Cllr Owen Thompson, Midlothian’s Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, said, “Our Trading Standards team work hard to protect local consumers by ensuring that the clothes they purchase are genuine. In Scotland we are lucky to live in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, and it’s important we help people in less fortunate countries wherever possible. I am delighted to see that people in developing countries in Asia and Africa are now benefiting directly as a result of the hard work of our Trading Standards officers.”

A spokesman for the N.P.A.C. said, “We have received goods from all over Scotland in the last twenty years including redundant uniform from Northern Constabulary (which is now in Zambia); Wedding Dresses for the Cinderella project and redundant stock from many places.

“The Trading Standards stock is particularly useful because it is new. Although we take a fair amount of secondhand clothing amongst the school and clinic equipment, it’s always nice to be able to hand over something new.  Frequently the training shoes and fleeces are exchanged for a days work unloading the containers.”

More information about National Police Aid Convoys is available from their website at www.npac.org.uk As you’ll see, there are jobs for volunteers of all kinds and they are particularly keen to establish branches in Scotland.   Please call 0115 390 999  or email secretary@npac.org.uk if you would like to see what you can do.

If you suspect you have purchased counterfeit goods and wish to report it, please contact your local Trading Standards team.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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