French customs seize counterfeit cable

More than 120,000 reels of counterfeit electric cables, believed to have been distributed through a supplier in Hong Kong, have been seized by French customs operations Nantes, Rouen and Toulouse.

Earlier this year, 15,700 counterfeit electrical cables reels were discovered in a discount store in Vendee, mid West France. The find led customs officers to a retail outlet in Manche where more than 80,000 reels of counterfeit electrical cables were also found. In a further raid, officers found 20,000 reels in the Hautes-Pyrenees region.

The counterfeit cables, manufactured to appear as copper cables, were made with an iron alloy and reported to be “highly flammable and of poor quality” by the Directorate General of Customs and Excise.

The Directorate’s statement emphasised that the cables were highly dangerous to installers and occupiers of buildings as they presented serious fire risk. It went on to say that customs officers had dismantled an international counterfeiting network and that three men behind the source and importation of the cables had been arrested.

Commenting upon the seizure Approved Cables Initiative spokesperson Peter Smeeth said:

“The seizure of counterfeit cables, confirmed by the French cable manufacturer’s trade association, is very good news and it is reassuring that customs officers across the Channel are vigilant in these matters. The fight against cable counterfeiters and manufacturers of non-compliant cables is an international effort. The ACI has campaigned for many years to highlight the issues and lobby for better control against the import of cheap, inferior and often dangerous cable products.

“Only this month, Prime Minster David Cameron personally pledged to investigate the issue of substandard cabling at a European level to see what could be done. This issue needs the full support of British and European legislation to stop such cables finding a home in our building industry.”

Further information can be found on the ACI website at

Notes to editors
The Approved Cables Initiative is addressing the issue of unsafe, non-approved and counterfeit cable entering the UK marketplace.  Anyone with information or concerns about a suspected faulty or counterfeit cable should contact the ACI who will test samples and if found to be unsafe supply details to relevant industry regulators and legislators.  ACI can also provide guidance where appropriate to installers.
For suspect importers, manufacturers and distributors, the ACI is direct in its approach to investigate and publicise the results. This is the first initiative of its kind in the electrical industry with the framework to proactively communicate, educate, investigate, eradicate and legislate.
The ACI is an industry-wide working group with supply chain representative bodies including Electrical Distributors Association (EDA); Electrical Contractors Association (ECA); Electrical Safety Council; British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC); British Cables Association (BCA);  Energy Networks Association (ENA); Ascertiva Group; SELECT and JIB.

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