Issued By
Lancashire County Council

£½ Million Counterfeit Haul Seized in Lancashire – More Swoops Planned

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards has seized £½ million worth of counterfeit goods during a multi agency ‘sweep’ of Whyndyke Car Boot Sale on Sunday 13 July.

Officers believe the traders involved are from across the north west and travel from as far afield as Manchester and Yorkshire to popular boot sales in Lancashire. More ‘stings’ are being planned for venues throughout the county in a bid to stamp out illicit goods.

Lancashire’s Chief Trading Standards Officer, Jim Potts, said:

“This should serve as a warning to anyone who plans to sell counterfeit goods in Lancashire. There is every chance that you will be caught and face severe fines or possibly imprisonment.”

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service, in partnership with the Police, Customs & Excise, Trade Mark Holders, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Blackpool Trading Standards were involved in the recent sweep at Whyndyke.

The DWP had carried out a large scale undercover investigation into possible fraudulent benefit claimants in advance of the operation. Checks were also made for stolen property, benefit fraud, red diesel, non-duty paid cigarettes and VAT records.

Several of the traders selling the counterfeit goods were also interviewed in respect of the receipt of state benefits. Counterfeit goods seized ranged from recently released or still-to-be-released films including The Hulk and Terminator 3, music discs, clothing, handbags, sunglasses and football memorabilia, to the value of nearly £500,000.

Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Rural Affairs, County Councillor Doreen Pollitt, explained:

“It is encouraging to see so many agencies working together to fight crime. A joint operation is a very effective method of tackling such trading practices and shows we will not tolerate counterfeiting or other illegal activities in Lancashire. Traders selling counterfeit goods mislead consumers into paying out money for products that are of poor quality and often don’t work and put honest jobs at risk.”

David Martin, Director of Anti Piracy, BPI said:

“Last year music piracy increased by 80% in the UK and lost the industry 50 million pounds. There is a knock on effect for record companies and artists with legitimate music retailers struggling to survive. The BPI would like to thank all the agencies for their valuable assistance.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said:

“Benefit fraud is a very serious offence, not a victimless crime. Every man, woman and child loses when benefit is claimed fraudulently. The Department’s investigators work on a regular basis with other agencies to combat this type of crime. If anyone has information that may help with other investigations, they should contact the Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440”.

EDITORS NOTE

Last year alone, counterfeiting was estimated to cost legitimate businesses in the North West about £750 million and resulted in around 1000 job losses. A recent report indicated that counterfeiting is now closely linked to organised crime gangs.

If you wish to report counterfeit matters Trading Standards can be contacted on 0845 600 1352, alternatively matters can be reported to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


For further information contact:

Julie Waddington, Senior Trading Standards Officer, telephone, 01772 533508

Department for Work and Pensions, Nigel Carlton, telephone, 0161 8776979

David Martin, BPI, 0207 8031331

Whyndyke Car Boot Sale is situated just outside Blackpool near to junction 4 of the M53.

For further information please contact: Martin Crabtree on 01772 533536
martin.crabtree@css.lancscc.gov.uk