Counterfeit goods and illegal cigarettes have been seized from a North Warwickshire market.
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Officers supported by Warwickshire Police visited Furnace End Market.
Trading Standards Officers targeted market traders selling counterfeit products and seized large quantities of clothing including 815 pairs of fake footwear, 87 bags, 33 wallets, purses and cardholders and 170 sunglasses bearing the names of designer brands including Nike, Adidas, Armani, Gucci, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
One hundred and forty-six fake Rolex, Omega and Breitling watches, some of which were being sold for £150 each were also seized together with a large number of illegal cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco and a number of suspected illegal airsoft guns.
In all, the goods seized are estimated to have a face-value in excess of £60,000 and a value if genuine of almost £950,000.
The operation severely disrupted the sale of fake goods, with many market traders simply abandoning their pitches and their stock.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Cheap counterfeit cigarettes, often sold at half the price of genuine products, make it easier for young people to start smoking and more difficult for regular smokers to stop. These fakes undermine the work that Public Health and others are doing to reduce smoking rates.”
“We are equally determined to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods. Consumers may think they are getting a bargain, but fake products are usually very poor quality and can be dangerous. The sale of counterfeits also funds organised crime including drug dealing, human trafficking and prostitution and threatens the livelihoods of genuine traders.”
“We will continue to work with our Police partners and other agencies to stop the sale of illegal goods.”
Officers from Warwickshire Police’s Rural Crime Team and the Atherstone and Coleshill Safer Neighbourhood Teams provided support to Trading Standards.
Rural Crime Team Co-ordinator Carol Cotterill said: “I’m really pleased with the outcome of this operation and we hope this latest seizure sends a clear message to all those trading in counterfeit goods.”
“Tackling counterfeiting is important for both economic reasons and to protect the public from harm and we will continue to tackle this type of criminality working closely with partner agencies to take action against the sellers of these items.”
Investigations are continuing and more raids are planned.
You can report the sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco to Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Central England Trading Standards Authorities anonymous automated hotline: 0300 303 2636 or online: https://centsa.org.uk/anonymous-hotline/