Five people were arrested during a trading standards operation in the Strangeways area, which led to the confiscation of fake goods with an estimated street value in excess of £3m.
11 shops selling counterfeit goods in the vicinity of Bury New Road were targeted in the raids – which led to the seizure of enough fake items to fill three 40ft shipping containers, plus the arrests, for trading standards and immigration offences.
The operation, on Tuesday 12 December, was led by Manchester City Council, with support from agencies including Greater Manchester Police, HMRC, UK Border Force, the IPO, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Electricity North West.
In a failed attempt to prevent enforcement agencies from entering their stores, fleeing traders closed their electric shutter doors, which led to customers being trapped inside two shops. Six members of the public had to be released by GM Fire and Rescue personnel using cutting equipment to get through the metal shutters.
More than 2,000 bags and boxes of counterfeit goods were seized, with copied brands including Adidas, Chanel, Ugg, Michael Kors, GHD, Beats/Apple, Nike and Superdry, among many others.
A brand representative valued the haul at around £3m – but this estimate did not include the potential value of thousands of counterfeit badges and labels, covering a wide range of brands, which were seized from a small ‘factory’ found within one of the units.
The types of goods seized included clothing, footwear, perfume, jewellery and handbags.
Fake batteries, speakers and headphones were also seized – all of which are potentially hazardous.
Two large knives were seized by GMP during the search, along with a significant sum of cash.
Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said: “This major raid involved significant levels of resources, with all the relevant enforcement agencies working together in a coordinated effort to tackle the criminals involved in the spread of counterfeit goods.
“Along with our partners, we’re committed to disrupting and ending the trade in fake goods in the Strangeways area, which causes real harm to both innocent customers and legitimate businesses.”