CAR boot sale scavengers are being warned to stay clear of counterfeit goods.
Officials from HM Revenue and Customs are warning of an increase in smuggled cigarettes as the car boot season gets underway in West Yorkshire.
Shoppers are being warned that severe penalties, including heavy fines and a jail sentence of up to seven years, can be imposed for people caught selling the goods.
Keith Morgan, detection manager at HMRC, said: “This is not an innocent or victimless crime but one the encourages otherwise honest people to trade with criminals.
“The illicit trade has a devastating impact on legitimate traders who have to compete against these cheap and unregulated goods.”
Statistics show that car boot sales are thriving hotspots for a small minority of traders to sell on counterfeit goods including cigarettes among other fake items such as clothing.
Easter time is often the start of the car boot season so HMRC officials are now giving advice to potential buyers.
They are advising people not to buy the cheap goods, which could be unlicensed and contain unknown ingredients or substances.
Around £3billion in revenue is being drained from the public purse each year by tobacco smugglers.