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28 Feb 2018


Some of what Dorset region have been up to.

Real or Fake?
Having spent a significant part of his career combating the fake goods industry in the UK, when he retired Paul had the idea of opening a ‘Fake Shop’ in Yeovil – no, not a shop selling fake goods, but one stocked with them so people could see the limitless range of items available and learn about the size and value of the organised crime network behind them. To illustrate the diversity of this trade, he opened a suitcase full of well-known, branded goods, some of which were fake and some real, handing them out to the audience to see if we could tell the difference. We saw baseball caps, sports clothing, watches, tobacco, razor-blades, perfume and even a stethoscope that had been supplied to doctors! Almost everything had some tell-tale sign that it was counterfeit and if a potential purchaser wanted to, he or she could probably spot that it wasn’t the real thing. Of course, there are people who are happy to purchase these items because they think they are getting something cheap that from a distance looks real – and what harm can it do? Well, maybe aren’t aware of the fact that they are funding organised crime which goes way beyond merely producing copies of branded goods. The other problem and  a Godsend to counterfeiters, is online purchasing whereby someone buys something in good faith but when they receive it, they realise it’s not real but when they try to return the item or get a refund… you can guess the rest.
Of course, a fake watch or baseball cap is unlikely to cause any physical harm, but the audience gasped when shown a cuddly toy – a child had pulled the head off which was held on with a 50mm spike and then lost an eye on that spike. There were ear-phones that broke up inside the wearer’s ear, tobacco containing added ingredients to bulk it out, most of which are rather more harmful than the tobacco itself (there is more counterfeit tobacco sold in the UK than real!), designer sunglasses which look genuine but have zero UV protection which, if worn in sunlight, will result in permanent eye damage. Many of us run our cars on a tight budget, shopping around for the best prices on parts, but beware, the industry for fake car parts is vast, with items sold as OEM that are anything but. Unfortunately, if you fit counterfeit brake, steering or suspension parts, you probably won’t know they aren’t genuine until you find yourself in an emergency situation, at which point it’s too late.
How do you spot a fake? First, if it’s really cheap, the item probably isn’t genuine – but of course, the people who are serious about selling this stuff are wise to this and will price fakes just below RRP, reeling buyers in without making them too suspicious. Look at labels, there are often mistakes in spelling, font or accuracy. We saw an item which should have been labelled as ‘Made in China’ but it read ‘Made in Cina’. Ironically, it actually WAS made in China (as is most of this stuff). We handled a selection of Rolex and Omega watches and it was obvious which were fake – the Rolex’s felt poorly finished, too light and the straps were cheap and rattily. The Omega though, was obviously genuine.
It was heartening to see the lengths to which the police and trading standards go to combat this multi-million dollar trade and in addition to preventing goods from reaching the market, some good comes from confiscated items. Labels removed, good quality (and make no mistake, some of it is VERY good) unbranded clothing is given to charity to be distributed to people who need it, many of whom are unwitting victims of this illegal trade.
What a fascinating presentation and a great start to 2018, thanks Paul.
Recent Events
Tref reports:-
I’ve lost count how many skittles evenings we’ve had with our arch-rival, The Woolbridge Motor Club but win or lose, we always have a good time. We have always been in awe of Woolbridge’s serious skittlers doing ‘The Dorset Flop’, a technique that involved getting your whole body behind launching the ball down the alley, but this year, we had our own member, George Rendell, demonstrating the technique for R26! George plays at county level so we had high expectations, but unfortunately he was carrying an injury, so not at his best. Take your hand out of the car boot before closing it next time George!
The rest of us applied our varying skills and no-one scored zero this year – the nett result was victory for R26 in both rounds.
But there is more to this evening than just the skittles – camaraderie as strong as ever, the raffle raised another £95 for Dorset Air Ambulance and there’s the food, which no Dorset event would be complete without. Once again, Bloxworth Village Hall, our venue for the evening, did us proud.
So, the challenge is on - will Woolbridge be redoubling their efforts next year? Will more of our members learn “The Dorset Flop” now we have an in-house master? Look out for our next skittles evening to find out!

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