Inside Britain's Black Market – New BBC1 documentary reveals shocking secrets

Inside Britain's Black Market

Counterfeit goods... Livvy investigates a dangerous trade

Britain’s black market is worth £9.3b a year. And it’s not just knockoff designer gear that people are snapping up – there’s a huge appetite for fake prescription drugs, counterfeit steroids and fat-burning pills.

“The sale of prescription drugs on the black market has grown enormously,” says Livvy Haydock, who investigates the problem for Inside Britain’s Black Market, a new BBC1 documentary, which is already available to watch on BBCiPlayer.

“Many people see fake goods as a victimless crime, but prescription drugs are a different matter.”

Livvy meets street dealer Sarah, who sells replica copies of Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety – but is known to be highly addictive and isn’t prescribed on the NHS. Sarah admits she happily deals replica Xanax to kids as young as 14.

"I’ve never had a dealer say, 'I’m fine selling drugs to 14-year-olds' before," admits Livvy. "I’m shocked!"

To find out where these counterfeit drugs come from, Livvy joins supplier Phil in his illegal lab. He learnt how to make the drugs by watching tutorial videos on YouTube.

“I don’t know how Phil can justify making drugs that can ruin lives, but he’s willing to risk it because the profits are so good,” says Livvy. “As long as there’s the demand, the supply will be available.”

Inside Britain’s Black Market is available now on BBCiPlayer and is on BBC1 on Tuesday at 10.45pm.

(Written by Hannah Davies).

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!