As chairman of the recently formed UK Power Tool Industry Alliance Against Counterfeits, I am writing in response to Gus Alexander's column "Gifts from Saint Nick" (20 December, page 20).
Although we strongly agree with Gus that it is disgusting that there are some who will steal a "working man's means of earning a livelihood", there is always the temptation to secure the odd bargain by way of the back of a lorry.

However, we would like to draw your readers' attention to a new and dangerous source of "bargain" power tools. There is a growing threat from the organised distribution of countereit tools. These are sold from unmarked vans parked just outside site gates or in the car parks of builders merchants. The people selling them claim they are originals but if inspected closely they are certainly not the real deal.

Although these tools may resemble well known brands in colour and packaging, they are in fact inferior copies from the Far East, which on entering the country under one brand are reworked with fake badges and labels so as to look like products by market leaders. Clues to these machines being counterfeit are: they do not have instruction manuals and the 240 V versions do not have a moulded plug.

The alliance is steadfast in its aims to educate members of the general public so that they don't become victims in this growing trade and to track down and prosecute offenders. We are working closely with special undercover investigators, police, trading standards and the Inland Revenue and have set up a hotline number (01908-211003) for anyone who has information about people selling counterfeit tools.

These machines may seem to be a bargain but their inferior quality can lead to premature failure. Many of the machines and accessories, such as battery chargers, do not meet the relevant standards. People who buy them will end up spending more of their hard-earned money to replace them when they break down – who is going to repair them? The man they bought them from?

So I am calling on Building to support us in our efforts to raise awareness on this issue.