£500 million worth of fake designer goods seized in Manchester

Credit: City of London Police

Fake designer goods estimated by police to be worth £500 million have been seized in Manchester.

A raid on dozens of storage facilities in the Strangeways area led to the discovery of more than 200 tonnes of counterfeit items.

The policing operation, aimed at cracking down on the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods, is the largest ever in the UK and was led by the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

Among the assortment of items - which if sold as genuine at market price would have been worth £500 million - were suspected counterfeit shoes, clothing, handbags, watches, makeup, sunglasses and headphones.

As well as the goods, two counterfeit perfume factories were found and equipment used to make the fake fragrances, including various chemicals, all of which was seized. Two arrests were made.

Police Constable Anthony Cregan, who led the investigation, said: "This operation will have severely disrupted organised crime groups linked to counterfeit goods.

"We believe the hundreds of tonnes of goods seized would have supplied gangs in Cheetham Hill selling counterfeit goods.

The operation took place with help from City of London Police's Intellectual Crime Property Unit, Trading Standards, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement, with logistical support provided by Lighthouse Security.