TRADING Standards chiefs in South Ayrshire are this week using seizures from criminals to help the needy.
With the assistance of "His Church Charity", a mountain of counterfeit goods is being sent to help aid relief in Africa.
Over the past 18 months, officers from Trading Standards have seized counterfeit items with a high street retail value of nearly quarter of a million pounds.
These have included thousands of copy DVDs, CDs, clothes, computers, car accessories and handbags. Now, with the help of charity workers, these items will be defaced, recycled and sent to West Africa.
Councillor Peter Convery, who is responsible for Trading Standards issues within South Ayrshire, said: "Over the past year, our officers have made great strides to clamp down on the trade in counterfeit goods.
"During this period, we ran a campaign with East and North Ayrshire Councils called Fake Free Ayrshire.
"Working with business representatives, we have targeted fakes being sold from all sources such as private homes, places of work, markets and street traders.
"We have now amassed a considerable amount of illicit products that have been forfeited by the courts or signed over to us by criminals. Now we have a great opportunity for these goods to be put to a much better use than lining the pockets of the criminals that make and sell them."
Cllr Convery added: "While counterfeiting is bad news for the UK and local economies, at least this action ensures that some good can come from these illegal goods.
"I am delighted that the good work of our officers to clamp down on counterfeiting in all its forms can also benefit those less fortunate than ourselves.
"It also reinforces the message to anyone who sells counterfeit goods that not only do they face punishment from the courts, they will lose their stock as well."
A spokesman for "His Church Charity" said: " We are delighted to act in partnership with South Ayrshire Trading Standards in turning seized counterfeit products into real aid for those suffering through poverty.
"By working together with forward-thinking councils like South Ayrshire, we improve and protect the environment with managed recycling of waste and bring genuine hope and joy to the under-privileged children who receive the re-distributed products."