|Closing in on the counterfeiters
More than 2,000 fake DVDs and computer games have been seized in a joint operation by Wigan Council’s Trading Standards and Greater Manchester Police.
The counterfeiting raid last week followed a lengthy investigation by Trading Standards officers into the illegal sale of fake DVDs and computer games, which are being sold nationwide over the internet.
Search warrants were executed at 2 residential properties in Atherton and Leigh and more than 2,000 fake discs were recovered from the premises, as well as various computer equipment. Two individuals were arrested.
“The individual running the organised operation had attempted to hide his identity by setting up bank accounts using relatives names as well as using an alias name and false address,” says Chief Trading Standards Officer Julie Middlehurst. "But these dishonest measures ultimately provided no protection when pitted against the impressive investigative skills of Trading Standards.
“From the evidence we obtained, the individual appears to have made in excess of £150,000, whilst at the same time, claiming benefits. We are committed to working with all partners, and will always share our information with the various benefit agencies to ensure that these individuals are brought to justice.
"During difficult times, the temptation to buy things ‘under the counter’ can prove irresistible. But this is not a ‘victimless’ crime. Selling counterfeits harms the UK economy, undermines legitimate enterprise and affects local jobs. We urge communities to come forward rather than turning a blind eye. Without your help, ridding our neighbourhoods of these illicit goods would be all the more difficult."
Superintendent Stuart Ellison of Greater Manchester Police's Wigan Division adds: "Police will continue to work closely with Trading Standards to prosecute those who deal in counterfeit goods and I would encourage people to report suspicious activity to us on 0161 872 5050 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."
You can also ring Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
Investigations are continuing including potential Proceeds of Crime action to recover money made from the activity which can include freezing bank accounts.