Thousands of fake goods and pirate DVDs have been seized from travellers returning through Newcastle Airport from the Far East.Those stopped are thought to have been used as couriers by organised criminal gangs or were seeking to help pay for their holidays by selling on the goods.Customs swooped on people flying into Newcastle Airport carrying up to 200 items at a time.The imitation designer clothes, sunglasses, handbags, and films are now in the hands of Newcastle City Council trading standards officers.Designer brand, Von Dutch, famous for its trucker caps and range of funky clothing is the most common fake this year.Other items, pictured, include Louis Vuitton handbags, Evisu clothing, Diesel trainers, Gucci scarves and Oakley sunglasses.The Brad Pitt blockbuster Troy was among the fake DVDs as well as Scary Movie and porn films.Dave Ellerington (pictured above), of Newcastle Council, trading standards said: “The weight of the goods is quite staggering and we suspect a lot of these individuals are acting as couriers for others, or as a means of paying for their holidays.”The goods were likely to have been intended for sale through pubs/clubs and workplaces.””We would warn travellers to be very careful when bringing back counterfeit goods from abroad.”Customs and Excise are very vigilant, especially during the holiday season, and there is a strong likelihood that persons carrying counterfeit goods will be picked up.” It is estimated that counterfeiting and piracy cost the UK economy 10bn last year including 1.75bn in unpaid VAT.The Anti Counterfeiting Group was founded in 1980 to campaign against the trade in fakes and now represents the interests of over 200 companies in 30 different countries.Intelligence services have evidence that counterfeiting is often the work of organised criminal gangs and profits made from the sale of fake goods have been used to fund the drugs trade and terrorism.Ruth Orchard, director general of the ACG, said: “Counterfeiting is a huge and global problem which has escalated in the last 10 years.”People buying a fake today could be funding the supply of drugs to children tomorrow. Consumers need to realise this. If you can afford the real thing please don buy a fake as you are putting yourself and family at risk.”Fakers move from one brand to another as the brands work at stamping out counterfeiting.

Two more associate sponsors, the sponsorship level just below gold, also declined to return this year. Zune a music player whose parent company, Microsoft, saw its stock hit a 10 year low in 2008 dropped out, as did Olevia television manufacturer whose parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Both had joined the Winter X Games for the first time in 2008.