Manchester

Manchester police raids seize counterfeit bags and clothes 'worth £7.5m'

Cheetham Hill raids Image copyright GMP
Image caption Over 100 police officers and staff searched three premises in Cheetham Hill leading to 15 arrests

Suspected counterfeit handbags, clothing, watches and perfume with a street value of £7.5m have been seized by police during raids in Manchester.

Over 100 police officers and staff searched three premises in Cheetham Hill on Wednesday.

Fifteen people were arrested, with 11 held for distribution of counterfeit goods and immigration offences.

Greater Manchester Police said the operation was one of the largest of its kind they had carried out.

Image copyright City of London Police
Image caption More than £7.5m of suspected counterfeit handbags, clothing, watches and perfume were seized

Ch Insp Kirsten Buggy said it had taken "a meticulous amount of planning and preparation".

The force carried out the raids alongside the City of London Police's intellectual property crime unit.

Lead investigator Charlotte Beattie said: "An individual may think that when buying counterfeit goods they are only affecting a multi-million pound brand, but in reality they are helping to fund organised criminal activity."

Mobile phones and cash were seized from those arrested during the raid.

Image copyright City of London Police
Image caption Mobile phones and cash were seized from those arrested during the raid

Phil Lewis, director general of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, said: "These Manchester traders selling counterfeit goods are blatantly defrauding consumers.

"They're harming legitimate businesses and making absolutely no contribution toward public services or the UK economy."

He added: "We urge consumers to stop buying goods from these types of premises and think twice about the goods they buy online, because counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and, more worryingly, can be unsafe and even dangerous."

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