Police in Manchester have made what they said was the largest ever seizure of counterfeit goods in the UK.
More than 580 tonnes of items, including clothes, drugs and illicit tobacco, were found in raids on 207 shipping containers on the outskirts of Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police estimated the loss to criminals to be about £870m.
The crackdown on fake goods is part of Operation Vulcan which has shut down 100 shops in Manchester.
Police said the “monumental” haul, gathered over the past 14 days, also included nitrous oxide canisters and counterfeit vapes from a storage unit.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was the largest single seizure in Europe in almost two decades.
The force said the searches followed a covert operation combined with intelligence from the community and involved 100 officers working with multiple agencies.
GMP said it was now tracing where the items originated and working to ensure those involved were arrested.
Det. Insp. Christian Julien, one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers, said the “largest raid to date” put GMP “on to the global stage, placing us in the top three worldwide for a single seizure of counterfeit items”.
He said it showed the “true scale” of the counterfeit trade in the UK, “the majority of which was on our doorstep here in Manchester”.
He said counterfeit goods were not “a bargain”, adding “this type of crime is not victimless”.
“Criminals are making vast amounts of money from this trade which is being funnelled into fuelling further criminality, exploitation, and misery not just in Manchester, but across the world,” the officer added. (BBC)