Seized: Mas­sive haul of fake de­signer goods

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NEAL KEELING

FOUR shops where coun­ter­feit goods were be­ing sold have been shut fol­low­ing raids.

Knock-off Louis Vuit­ton bags, forged Michael Kors satchels, phoney Ralph Lau­ren box­ers and dozens of boxes of cheap per­fume were among the bo­gus goods found in Strange­ways – dubbed the ‘fakes cap­i­tal of the UK’ – last month.

Four prop­er­ties – con­sist­ing of eight rooms – were found to have con­tained large quan­ti­ties of coun­ter­feit items.

Coun­cil chiefs be­lieve the goods were worth around £2.5m re­tail value – or £500,000 on the streets.

Town hall bosses hit the busi­nesses with ‘Premises Clo­sure Or­ders’ to put an end to the ‘an­ti­so­cial and crim­i­nal be­hav­iour’ as­so­ci­ated with the shops at one to seven Har­ris Street.

Of­fi­cers have se­cured the premises and ac­cess is now pro­hib­ited.

The raid was car­ried out by the coun­cil’s Trad­ing Stan­dards team, GMP, im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment of­fi­cers, the coun­cil’s anti-so­cial be­hav­iour team and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Anti-Coun­ter­feit­ing Group.

In ad­di­tion to fake hand­bags, jew­ellery, train­ers, sun­glasses, scarves, belts, head­phones and watches, of­fi­cers also found 5,000 pre­scrip­tion drug tablets in a bag.

A lump ham­mer, a claw ham­mer and a mod­i­fied pair of scis­sors were also dis­cov­ered.

Shop­keep­ers were alerted to of­fi­cers ar­riv­ing to con­duct the raid by ‘spot­ters’ and fled.

Four mem­bers of the pub­lic were trapped in­side the premises and had to be freed by GMP of­fi­cers who smashed through a heav­ily-for­ti­fied gate.

This is the first time that a Premises Clo­sure Or­der has been used to close premises sell­ing coun­ter­feit goods in Manch­ester.

The or­der was brought due to the il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, dis­or­der and nui­sance as­so­ci­ated with the premises.

The or­der was granted in Manch­ester and Sal­ford Mag­is­trates’ Court on Oc­to­ber 8 and re­mains in place un­til Jan­uary 7, next year.

Any­one en­ter­ing the premises dur­ing the three-month or­der can be ar­rested. The ini­tial pe­riod can be ex­tended for a fur­ther three months, if the coun­cil and courts are not sat­is­fied that the premises will no longer be as­so­ci­ated with crime and dis­or­der.

Coun Nigel Mur­phy, deputy leader of Manch­ester coun­cil, said: “The coun­ter­feit­ing of goods is dis­hon­est and puts our res­i­dents at risk of harm from po­ten­tially haz­ardous prod­ucts - we will not tol­er­ate this in Manch­ester.”

Hun­dreds of fake de­signer bags were dis­cov­ered in shops in Strange­ways and, in­set, the coun­ter­feit good bagged up af­ter the raid

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