TENS of thousands of dodgy condoms which could spontaneously split, causing unwanted pregnancies, are on their way to Scotland, a top cop has warned.
Last month 10,000 counterfeit condoms were intercepted by the UK Border Force in Coventry, in the West Midlands.
The counterfeit Durex condoms are understood to have been below industry standards – meaning they could be made of unsafe materials, not thick enough or even lubricated with dangerous chemicals.
But now a top cop has warned that other dangerous consignments of condoms are likely to have penetrated Scottish markets.
Chief Inspector Ronald Megaughin is deputy director of Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) – the quango responsible for protecting Scottish businesses.
He said: “Given the regularity and scale of seizures of counterfeit condoms throughout the UK, it is highly likely that undetected shipments will have reached Scotland.
“It is incredibly alarming that individuals will seek to profit from the sale of medical products that can dupe the buyer into purchasing potentially harmful –and in worst cases deadly – items.”
In the past seizures of counterfeit condoms abroad have included products containing toxic metals – which could cause serious harm.
A 2015 bust by police in Shanghai discovered a £1.3m operation producing condoms for as little as 1p each.
Officials said that the fakes, packaged as Durex condoms, contained toxic metals – a term used to denote metals like mercury, lead and arsenic.
Now shoppers are being told to check their condoms for the “CE” mark – which shows the products conform to European standards.
Condoms made in unregulated factories
They are also being told to only purchase condoms from well-known high street stores.
Lynda Scammell is senior policy manager for enforcement at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – the government watchdog responsible for the quality of medical products.
She said: “Individuals involved in the illegal sale and supply of medicines and medical devices put their profits over your health.
“The use of counterfeit marked condoms carries a variety of health risks – including unsafe manufacturing which could lead to bursting and potentially resulting in unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.”
“Condoms are an example of a medical product that can be replicated and produced in unregulated factories with a complete absence of the regulation that ensures products comply with standards of quality, reliability and safety.
“Other seizures have included dental equipment, syringes and contact lenses.”
In 2014 the MHRA seized a shipment of condoms lubricated with Swarfega – a heavy duty hand cleaner typically used by mechanics to remove grease and oil from their hands.
Speaking at the time Ms Scammell said: “That’s going to hurt.”
The experts spoke out ahead of a conference organised by the SBRC on May 27 to raise awareness of the dangers of illicit and counterfeit goods.
The conference will also feature a talk from Mark Hogarth – creative director of Hebrides-based Harris Tweed, who will talk about the effect fake goods have on the industry.