A controversial government restriction on second-hand textile and shoe imports was introduced in Poland on Monday despite claims the tough new restrictions could leave thousands of people without decent clothing.

The new law has been brought in to protect the country's £40 million textile industry which ministers claim is being threatened by the £28m market for imported second-hand fashions.

Protestors including models, fashion designers and actors claim many of the country's 16,000 used clothing stores now face the axe after being told they now have to obtain a licence to operate. All imported textile must also now be laundered.

Used clothing from Western European countries has recently become increasingly popular among young Poles as well as those employed in the entertainment industry who want to wear something "different".