Seized: Massive haul of fake designer goods
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