The Easter period has historically been one of the busiest times of year for the counterfeit shops in Cheetham Hill and Strangeways.
This year, unfortunately for the associated gangs involved with these illegitimate shops, relentless action by Operation Vulcan has meant a further 18 shops have been shut down, and over £6 million worth of counterfeit clothing has been seized. This equals a huge loss of earning for the nefarious shop owners and means millions of pounds has been removed from the criminal market.
These items will soon be sent off to be repurposed and recycled, turning them into items which the community can benefit from including coats, hats, insulation, and even energy for houses.
Over the last 14 days, police have encountered dilapidated buildings littered with rat urine and faeces, dangerous homemade electricity, hidden weapons, and shops without proper means of escape.
Inspector Andy Torkington, one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers, said: “We have been relentlessly targeting these illegitimate shops, but we are aware of the few remaining units who are attempting to operate in the area. We will be targeting these premises imminently and our investigations will continue as we seek out and arrest those involved.
“We are seeing excellent progress in the area, and the feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly supportive, but there is still more to be done. The criminality has been embedded into the area for decades, and we’re under no illusion that five months of relentless action will solve it, but these results show great strides in the right direction.
“We need the community side by side with us, sharing information so we can act upon it and bring these people to justice. Operation Vulcan has unwavering support from partner agencies across Greater Manchester which will enable us to stamp out the criminality and build stronger communities.”