A haul of fake and potentially dangerous Wonka chocolate bars worth £22,000 has been seized from a shop on London’s Oxford Street.
They were among counterfeit products worth a total of £100,000 which were taken away by officers who raided three unnamed stores, according to Westminster City Council.
It was part of an investigation into 30 American-style sweet and souvenir shops for alleged business rates evasion amounting to £7.9m, the council added.
The haul of fake items included toys, Apple and Samsung products, chargers, watches and shisha products.
Officers seized 2,838 disposable vapes which were not authorized by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. They contain excessive levels of nicotine and tank sizes above the permitted level.
The council said it believed very few of the 30 shops were serving sufficient customers to be commercially viable and were being used to avoid business rate bills and possibly commit other offenses.
It said trading standards received complaints about the American-style sweet shops not showing price tags, having out of date products and items costing more than expected.
The council recently wrote to 28 freeholders urging them to consider the impact of US sweet shops on Oxford Street and has so far seized around £574,000 worth of counterfeit and illegal goods from American candy and souvenir stores.
Council leader Adam Hug said: “Anyone walking down Oxford Street is struck by the ever expanding number of US-style sweet shops and poor quality of souvenir outlets.
“They are a threat to the status and value of what is supposed to be the nation’s premier shopping street.”
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned customers in May not to buy or eat the counterfeit Wonka Bars as they may have been produced or repackaged by unregistered businesses or individuals that could be breaking food hygiene, labeling and traceability laws.
Some of the counterfeit chocolate bars that have been removed from sale were found to contain allergens which were not listed on the label, and could pose a major health risk to anyone who suffers from a food allergy or intolerance.
The FSA added if the Wonka chocolates do not feature the official Ferrero or Ferrara Candy Company trademarks on the label they will probably be fake.