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Counterfeit op in Cheetham Hill

In Cheetham Hill, north of Manchester city centre, City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and Greater Manchester Police, has so far uncovered an estimated £7.5m of branded clothing, shoes and perfume suspected to be counterfeit.

The area featured in the November 2019 print issue of Professional Security magazine, arising from a talk at Consec, the annual conference of the Association of Security Consultants (ASC).

The joint action between police and Immigration Services, saw 15 people arrested – 11 for offences relating to the distribution of counterfeit goods and four for immigration offences. Three premises in Cheetham Hill were raided by police officers on Wednesday, March 11 in what police describe as a large scale operation aimed against sale of counterfeit goods. The search warrant, which developed from a previous operation that involved the sale and distribution of counterfeit items through an online sales platform, involved 100 officers and staff.

Officers worked through the night to clear the units, pictured. They have so far confiscated as suspected counterfeit: shoes, clothing, handbags, watches, wallets, perfume, sunglasses, headphones, and fake brand labels. Mobile phones and cash has also been seized from those arrested.

Police Staff Investigator Charlotte Beattie, of the PIPCU, is leading the investigation. She said: “The counterfeit goods business regularly helps to fund other types of 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.

“Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. These fake items can pose a health risk to individuals as they usually are not fit for purpose or have not gone through the legal health and safety checks. For example, counterfeit makeup and perfume can contain harmful chemicals that can damage the skin. We would like to thank Greater Manchester Police and our other partners for helping to tackle the scourge of the counterfeit goods problem.”

Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) said: “These Manchester traders selling counterfeit goods are blatantly defrauding consumers. They’re harming legitimate businesses and making absolutely no contribution toward public services or the UK economy. Selling and making counterfeit goods, of any sort, is against the law and can result in a prison sentence. The vast profits made by selling these fake goods are increasingly funding organised crime. PIPCU’s great work, together with members of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), is an excellent example of partnership working on the ground to stem this destructive crime wave.

“We urge consumers to stop buying goods from these types of premises and think twice about the goods they buy online, because counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and more worryingly, can be unsafe and even dangerous.”

Phil Lewis meanwhile recently met with John Leyshon, Head of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Intelligence Hub.

Image courtesy of PIPCU.


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