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Customs is warning shoppers looking for bargains this Christmas not to be fooled into buying fake Nintendo DS and DS Lite machines.

HMRC has seized hundreds of dodgy machines at freight depots around the country. Nintendo has confirmed the machines are counterfeit and that the power supplies had not been tested and were potentially dangerous. The consoles had been bought from different Asian-based websites and retailed for around £40 rather than the usual price of £100. They were advertised as genuine Nintendo products.

Pamela Rogers, HMRC's Head of Intellectual Property, said: "At best, these consoles would have led to disappointment on Christmas morning; at worst, they could have caused serious harm or injury.

"Counterfeit goods also cause considerable damage to the UK economy by undermining genuine UK retailers and small businesses who are honest and abide by the rules."

Mike Rawlinson, MD of the games industry organisation Elspa, thanked Customs for its help and asked parents to be careful. He said: "often when a bargain seems too good to be true it actually is.".

HMRC reckons the trade in counterfeit goods costs the UK economy £9bn a year. ®

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