Police and trading standards officers have teamed up for a crackdown on ‘organised criminals’ involved in counterfeiting in Lanarkshire.
Between December and February almost £70,000 of counterfeit goods and £100,000 of illicitly obtained music were seized, as well as approximately £9,000 worth of drugs, with testing currently underway to identify other substances.
Police say the three-month pilot project also led to a 72% fall in metal thefts, following checks on licensed metal dealers, and the seizure of counterfeit tobacco. Visits were made to shops with a dog trained specially to detect hidden stores of fake cigarettes.
Checks were also carried out in licensed premises to test alcohol measures and brand authenticity while mileage checks were made on vehicles in second-hand dealerships to ensure owners were complying with licensing board conditions.
Highlights included the seizure of counterfeit football tops worth £29,000 and recovery of nearly £18,000 worth of countefeit goods from a business police say is connected to organised crime.
Inspector Andrew Thomson said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for my officers to work with trading standards on a daily basis to gather intelligence, carry out joint operations and share good practice.
“Although the pilot has ended, we are as determined as ever to keep up the pressure on those who commit and fund criminality. No one is untouchable.”
Paul Bannister, trading standards manager at North Lanarkshire Council, added: “The success of this operation demonstrates the effectiveness of working together by reducing the harm caused to communities by organised crime groups.”