A warning has been issued over fake lipstick after a court in the UK heard that the level of lead in counterfeit products can cause severe health problems.

Paul Lamerton sold fake lipsticks on eBay and Facebook with 300 times the legal level of lead, and magistrates in Plymouth, Devon, were told that if used regularly the cosmetic could result in high blood pressure, cardiac, reproductive and neurological problems.

It could also cause possible neurological damage to unborn babies if used by pregnant women, according to Daily Telegraph.

Tests found that the fake MAC product contained 3702mg/kg of lead - the permitted limit is 10mg/kg.

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After the case Councillor Dave Downie, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities said: "These items were not only fake, but some were dangerous.

"The products may look like the real thing, but were not and consumers can put their health at risk by using them.

"The level of lead in one sample was incredible.

"Legitimate companies comply with regulations that are designed to keep us safe but counterfeiters avoid costs incurred and the taxes by legitimate companies."

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Magistrates heard how trading standards officers raided his home in the city after a tip off.

They found that Lamerton, 47, was selling the lipstick at £6 ($11) each or four for £15 ($27.65). Authentic MAC lipsticks cost around £16.50 ($30.40) each.

He made a £823 ($1,517) profit selling the counterfeit goods over four years between 2012 and 2016.

Lamerton pleaded guilty to seven trading standards offences and narrowly avoided jail with a suspended sentence.

For each offence he was given six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. The sentences will run concurrently.

Julian Jefferson, mitigating, said Lamerton had given up his job to care for his terminally ill wife and had started selling goods online to earn "a few extra quid".

He said his client was "naïve" and would not have contemplated selling the lipsticks if he was aware if the unsafe lead content.

He added that Lamerton was truly remorseful for what he had done and would not be buying and selling fake goods online again.

Lamerton was also ordered to pay £400 ($737) towards costs and a £115 ($211) victim surcharge.