Operation Vulcan shut down another counterfeit store as they continue their blitz of counterfeits and criminality in 2023
Main article content
On Friday 6 January, at approximately 2pm, the Operation Vulcan officers were alerted to another counterfeit shop on Moulton Street, Strangeways, where the shop keepers had locked members of the public in against their will whilst they ran off with the keys in an attempt to escape.
Officers detained one of the spotters who had alerted the shop owners of the police presence and located a key fob to the shop. Unfortunately, the shutters had deliberately been disabled from the inside and there was no way of getting in (or out) easily.
Officers had to break down the shutters to get inside, where they found 12 people locked inside, including a young child.
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment and trademark offences. They remain in police custody for questioning.
Inspector Andrew Torkington, one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers said: "This was a dangerous and unsettling situation we encountered. The owners of the shop had disabled the shutters and locked the customers inside, all in an effort to stop police finding and seizing their counterfeit items. Had we not been able to get inside the shop, who knows how long the members of the public would have been stuck inside before the owners braved returning.
"Counterfeiting is a crime, which is why the shop keepers are so desperate to avoid police detection. These clothes are of dubious, often dangerous quality, manufactured in filthy and appalling conditions. They’re being shipped to the UK where fake logos are applied by staff who are forced to work in exploitative conditions. They are then sold across shops in Cheetham Hill, which, as we’ve mentioned before, these buildings are structurally unsafe, littered with rat urine and faeces, and manned by shopkeepers who have weapons stashed.
"Operation Vulcan has been set up to disrupt every level of criminality in this area. We are less than one week into 2023 and this is the second largescale store that we will empty, close, and prosecute those responsible. Cheetham Hill and Strangeways will no longer be synonymous with counterfeit goods."