Surrey trading standards officers have seized potentially life-threatening cosmetics in one of the UK’s largest-ever illegal goods hauls of its kind.

The Surrey County Council team seized the 752-kilo cargo, including more than 1,000 cosmetic items, at Heathrow.

The county's trading standards officers have been inspecting goods arriving at Heathrow Airport since 2009.

The arrangement, set up under a regional scheme, ensures banned goods are seized at customs before they reach hundreds of retailers nationwide. The council also recently seized a similar 600-kilo batch at Heathrow.

The 752-kilo cargo comprised 3,000 items and came from the Ivory Coast.

It was impounded because the products contained prescription medicines or were wrongly labelled.

The cosmetics items, which ranged from creams to lotions, contained a skin bleaching ingredient called hydroquinone, which is banned in the EU because it increases users’ risk of getting cancer and liver conditions.

The haul is due to be destroyed within the next month.

Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community services, said: “Seizing these cosmetics means our trading standards officers are keeping people safe from a potentially life-threatening ingredient linked to cancer.”