A STERN warning issued by Somerset County Council aimed at market traders selling fake gear this summer seems to have paid off.

Before the season, the council stressed it would be working closely with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to crack down on traders selling counterfeit goods through increased inspections.

And this week it was announced Trading Standards officers had only found knock-off items on four stalls at three of the markets they had visited so far this year.

The seized goods have an approximate retail value of £17,500 - a vast improvement over last year when, in the same period, 34 separate stalls were selling fakes at 14 markets and £120,000 worth of goods were seized.

The news comes as a court ruling means that organisers of markets can face prosecution if they do not show they are taking action to reduce counterfeit goods being sold at their events.

Jim Mochnacz, Somerset County Council's portfolio holder for community safety, said: "I am pleased to see that sellers of illegal fakes are thinking twice before trying to take advantage of Somerset's residents."

Anyone spotting suspected counterfeit goods for sale, or finding them on the internet, are urged to call Consumer Direct on 08454-040506.