POLICE have issued a shocking warning to Valentine's Day shoppers after hundreds of counterfeit cosmetic products were found to contain harmful substances.
Detectives shared the advice after more than 500 bottles of suspected fake designer perfume and make-up were seized during a raid in London.
The items, thought to be worth over £40,000 (€45,500), were found to contain poisonous chemicals including toxic cyanide and arsenic.
Lab tests also detected traces of human urine and rat droppings in the goods which could cause skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns.
Detective Chief Inspector Teresa Russell, of the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), warned consumers that Valentine's Day is a "counterfeiter's dream".
She added: "With jewellery and perfume being popular gift choices, it's easy to fall into the trap of a cheap offer.
"Fake make-up and perfume can contain harmful chemicals and even rat droppings that cause swelling, rashes and burns.
"Treat your Valentine to something legitimate from a reputable seller. Avoid heartbreak, don't buy fake."
The PIPCU also warned shoppers that purchasing counterfeit goods online often results in their personal details being used by criminals to set up new fraudulent websites.
More than 67,000 such websites have been disrupted by PIPCU detectives since the unit was set up in 2013.
Police refused to reveal the exact location of the raid for operational reasons, but said the bust took place somewhere in the capital at the end of January.