26 October 2016
The shutters came down for illegal traders in Leeds city centre earlier this month, following a planned operation to seize fake goods.
The police, Trading Standards and members of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) targeted eight street traders selling fake phone cases and other cheap imitation products.
The investigation then led the enforcement and brand protection team onto a retail shop and five self-storage units. All premises were packed with thousands of counterfeit goods, valued at tens of thousands of pounds and capable of filling three large transit vans.
Making or selling fake goods is against the law. Sellers can be fined or may even go to jail for up to 10 years.
"Legitimate businesses had been complaining about fakes being sold in the area and wanted action. The ACG, working together with our members, West Yorkshire Police, Leeds City Council and Trading Standards have demonstrated that this type of crime won’t be tolerated. We are extremely grateful to the authorities for taking this direct action and we will continue to identify and tackle any offenders", commented Graham Mogg, Intelligence Co-ordinator for the ACG.
An ACG member explained “Street vendors selling fake phone covers may seem harmless to the public they are just the tip of a very nasty iceberg. Behind them are global production and distribution networks run by criminal gangs, using the huge profits from counterfeiting to fund other crimes.”
A recent report published by the IP Crime Group confirmed the top three crimes linked to IP crime are; benefit fraud, money laundering and organized criminal networks.
ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.
Membership with the ACG is the best way to work with government and enforcement bodies to protect your brand. Our Roadshows and training days help you reach out to police, trading standards and border force officers and tell them about your genuine products.