Warning to Christmas shoppers after £1 million of counterfeit goods seized in north London raids
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Christmas shoppers are being urged against buying bargain designer products as gifts, after police seized an estimated £1 million worth of counterfeit goods during raids on Camden High Street, north London.
Approximately 4,000 counterfeit items were seized from four shops on 12 December 2023 by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police.
In one shop, officers seized counterfeit football shirts worth an estimated loss to the industry of £69,800. Counterfeit designer bracelets, thought to be worth an estimated loss of around £400,000, and £19,240 worth of counterfeit trainers were found in another shop.
A/Detective Inspector Andrew Masterson, from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police, said:
“Selling counterfeit goods is illegal, and we ask the public to think twice before buying bargain products as gifts in the run up to Christmas. While the cheaper price of these goods can be appealing, the reality is that counterfeiting can be a gateway to fund other organised crime.
“We seized a range of counterfeit products that included toys and vapes, which we believe were made to a low quality and didn’t meet safety standards.
“We’re following up on raids in Camden earlier this year to send a clear message that we’re here for the long-term. We’re working with brands and Trading Standards to make Camden a hostile place for counterfeiters to sell their wares, and where legitimate traders can thrive.”
The operation was supported by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Camden Council’s Trading Standards, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group and Lighthouse Security.
Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance and Cost of Living at Camden Council, said:
“We want all businesses that play by the rules to flourish in Camden – and we will not allow them to be undercut by traders that sell counterfeit goods. We also have a duty to protect Camden consumers, who are vulnerable to being ripped off or sold a poor-quality product. These regular raids send out a strong message – get your house in order and trade legally, or face a visit from the police and Trading Standards. You will be held to account for your dishonest actions.”
Miles Rees, the Intellectual Property Office’s Deputy Director of Intellectual Property Enforcement, said:
"It is estimated that the sale of counterfeits contributes to more than 80,000 job losses in the UK each year by diverting funds away from legitimate traders and into the hands of criminals, as well leading to real harms for those using them. These goods are produced with little regard for the safety of the consumer or for the workers frequently exploited during their production, and are very often of extremely poor quality.
“This is anything but a victimless crime. We are pleased to support the activity to clamp down on the sale of such illicit goods in and around Camden, working in partnership to help protect the public from this type of crime, and raise awareness of the damage caused to consumers, communities, and local economies."