€1bn worth of fake goods brought into EU last year
More than €1bn worth of fake goods, from pencils to cigarettes, was intercepted across the EU last year, according to a new report.
The European Commission said that the number of cases dealt with in 2010 by EU customs officials soared to just over 79,000 from nearly 46,300.
However, the number of individual articles intercepted -- mainly originating in China -- which were suspected of infringing existing trademarks or patents fell to 103.3 million from 118 million a year earlier.
In Ireland, the number of cases dealt with by officials that involved the attempted importation of patent or trademark-infringed products jumped 25pc to 1,277, but the number of individual items intercepted in those cases slumped to 66,800 from 463,000.
Cigarettes remain the top counterfeit good imported into the EU, making up 34pc of all items detained across member states in 2010. A packet of 20 cigarettes counts as one item.
Bizarrely, office stationery was the next single biggest category last year, involving 9pc of detentions due to a number of cases where millions of trademark-infringed pencils were uncovered by customs officials.
In terms of numbers of cases rather than intercepted items, counterfeit clothing was the main offender, followed by shoes and electrical items.