The Poppy Appeal, coordinated by the Royal British Legion, raises vital funds to support the Armed Forces community.
But, after officers seized hundreds of fake merchandise, the Government’s Intellectual Property Office has teamed up with the Legion to raise awareness and stop people falling foul of fraudsters.
It comes after 1,700 fake poppy merchandise was confiscated in Manchester last week and, in Autumn last year, UK Border Force officers intercepted a shipment of similarly counterfeit merchandise worth in the region of Â£150,000.
The warning issued today applies only to poppy merchandise - scarves, jewellery, poppy pins and larger poppy brooches - but not traditional paper poppies.
It is especially poignant this year, as the nation prepares to mark 100 years since the signing of the Armistice and the end of the First World War on Sunday, November 11.
Intellectual Property Minister Sam Gyimah said: “It is truly shocking that anyone would target and exploit one of the UK’s most cherished charities and take advantage of public support for our Armed Forces community.
“Together we can ensure donations go to the people they are intended for, by only supporting approved merchandise. Be vigilant when you are buying your poppies this year, and look out for the Royal British Legion logo to ensure the merchandise is approved and genuine.”
What to look out for to tell if poppy merchandise is fake
People are being asked to look out for counterfeit goods in the shape, or bearing the image of, The Royal British Legion’s familiar two-petal red poppy, or Poppy Scotland’s four-petal poppy in Scotland.
The following advice has been issued as top tips to avoid buying fake merchandise online:
- Be a ‘responsible buyer’ – buy from official channels and The Royal British Legion’s corporate partners. - Avoid cheaper priced products. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. - The Royal British Legion works with a number of corporate partners. Only corporate partners are authorised by The Royal British Legion to sell poppy merchandise. - If in doubt, click here to buy through The Royal British Legion