Huge police operation sees 12 tonnes of counterfeit goods seized in Manchester
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A raid at a warehouse in Strangeways, Manchester, uncovered an estimated 12 tonnes of branded counterfeit goods.
The raid was led by the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and officers from the City’s Support Group, with the help from Immigration Services and Greater Manchester Police.
The operation also saw two people arrested for offences relating to the distribution and selling of counterfeit goods.
Detective Constable, Peter Gartland, of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), said:
“Buying and selling counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime. As well as damaging legitimate businesses, it also helps fund other serious organised crime. An individual may think that when buying counterfeit goods they are only affecting a multi-million pound brand, but in reality they are helping to fund organised criminal activity.
“We have and will continue to do warrants in the area to tackle the large scale counterfeit problem that Cheetham Hill has.
“This operation showed the effectiveness of partnership working and I thank Greater Manchester Police, and our other partners involved, for all their help.”
The warehouse and home addresses of the two people arrested were raided by police on Tuesday, July 13. The large scale operation was aimed at cracking down on the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods.
Officers worked throughout the night to clear the huge warehouse that police believe was mainly used for wholesale and potentially supplying other shops in the area.
Police have so far seized counterfeit shoes, clothing, handbags, watches, wallets, perfume and sunglasses. Fake brand labels were also seized and these items are often imported separately to get through customs and then added onto the counterfeit goods. Mobile phones, laptops and cash was also seized.
Chief Inspector Simon Nasim from GMP's City of Manchester Division said:
"It's instrumental to work in partnerships such as this when tackling counterfeit operations, as each unit can bring its own specialisms, and help achieve the most effective policing operation.
"City of London is the national unit for fraud, and we greatly welcome their involvement, as well as the Intellectual Property Crime Unit, and Immigration services.
"Selling counterfeit goods is illegal, and the money made in these shops helps to fund organised crime. It is not victimless. It lines the pockets of criminals for much more sinister crimes, which can have a devastating impact on our communities, and it's a priority that we will continue to crack down on.
"Counterfeit goods can also pose a serious health risk to individual as they have note undergone the health and safety checks that are mandatory for mainstream goods."