Three million pounds worth of goods seized in counterfeit crackdown
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Over £3 million pounds worth of counterfeit goods have been seized over the last week following ten raids as part of a crackdown alongside City of London Police on counterfeit goods in Manchester.
Officers from City of London, North West Regional and Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU), Border Force, Immigration and local officers from the Cheetham Hill neighbourhood team carried out a warrant on Lockett Street and Bury New Road this morning (2 December) where one million pounds worth of goods including clothing, accessories, bags, perfume and jewellery were found and seized.
The warrant is the tenth raid carried out by the local officers and partners and form part of GMP's Operation's Magpie and Cranium - which aim to tackle the illegal distribution of counterfeit items and tackle the supply of illicit prescription drugs. The earlier warrants took place in the Cheetham Hill and Whalley Range areas.
Six men, aged between 36 and 61, have been arrested and released under investigation pending further enquiries.
As part of the crackdown over the last 10 days, tens of thousands of items including clothing, perfume, jewellery and accessories have been seized and an investigation alongside partners continues.
Inspector William Jennings-Wharton, of Cheetham Neighbourhood team, said: "This is all part of our continued work to tackle organised crime taking place in Cheetham Hill and I want to reassure the local community that we are listening to their concerns and this week's action is all part of our continued crackdown.
"Counterfeit goods and drug dealing will not be tolerated and all of these raids - which are a result of months of hard work - are a huge step in really driving a wedge in organised crime in the area.
"Counterfeit goods are not a victimless crime - though these desired items may look good and are cheap, they are funding a wider picture that involves money laundering, organised crime and cheap labour. The profits from such businesses can be used to fund other serious crime, and often with that comes violence which can have a devastating ripple effect on communities and nearby legitimate businesses."
Detective Chief Inspector, Suzanne Ferris, of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), said: “This operation will have severely disrupted organised crime groups linked to counterfeit goods. We believe the thousands of goods seized would have supplied gangs in Cheetham Hill, selling fake goods across the country this Christmas.
“Buying and selling counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime. As well as damaging legitimate businesses, it helps to fund organised crime, and with that often comes violence. This week showed the effectiveness of partnership working and I thank Greater Manchester Police, and our other partners involved, for all their help.”
A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “Counterfeit crime runs far deeper than just the sale of knock-off coats and handbags. There are deep links to other criminal enterprises and the sale of fake goods only puts money in the hands of criminals.
“We remain committed to tackling this practice at the source and will continue to work with our partners in the police to secure prosecution against perpetrators, and get fake goods off our streets.”
Inspector William Jennings-Wharton added: "The work doesn't stop here - we have always taken action in the area and will continue to do so - especially in the run up to Christmas. We'll be continuing to work closely with our partners including Manchester City Council who order closures on such illicit businesses and City of London police - but I would urge the public to continue to come forward to us with any information that may assist.
"Anyone with information should report it online or by using the LiveChat facility at www.gmp.police.uk or by calling 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."