Operation Vulcan kicks off 2023 with new arrests, seizures and a warning to criminals
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At approximately 3pm on Tuesday 3 January 2023 whilst Operation Vulcan officers were conducting high visibility patrols in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways area, they were stopped by a panicked boy who said his mum had been locked inside a shop on Harris Street, Cheetham Hill.
The spotters, who you regularly see loitering in the area, had alerted the illegitimate shop owners of the approaching officers.
Officers forced entry under section 17 – an emergency warrant that is granted to preserve life – and rescued the mum and a further 20 people who had been trapped inside by the shopkeepers who had been spooked by the police presence.
A subsequent search of the building led officers to discover over £8,000 cash and two large floors containing counterfeit clothing. These items will shortly be recycled and repurposed into household items, with anything unsafe being destroyed.
Two men, aged 26 and 28 were arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit trademark offences. Their arrest led to three further locations being searched which resulted in a further £5000 cash being recovered and a large amount of counterfeit clothing being seized. Both males were interviewed and have been bailed with conditions.
Detective Superintendent Neil Blackwood who is leading Operation Vulcan said: “We’ve heard whispers that the illegitimate shop owners thought Op Vulcan was just a short-lived operation over Christmas, and that in the New Year, all would be forgotten. I hope this weeks action will demonstrate that Operation Vulcan is here to stay, and my team and I will be relentlessly pursuing anyone who decides to commit criminality in this area.
“The illicit money made from the counterfeit items funds serious organised crime, and we will do everything in our power to strip criminals of their finances and reinvest it back into communities across Manchester.
“This latest seizure will make a dent in finances of the serious organised crime gangs operating in the area, but I’d like to take this time to again emphasise the danger that members of the public are in when they shop here."