A group of shops in the Strangeways area which were being used to sell counterfeit goods have been shut down by Manchester City Council officers.
The council obtained a Premises Closure Order to put an end to ongoing anti-social and criminal behaviour associated with the shops, at 1-7 Harris Street.
Officers have secured the premises and access is now prohibited, at all times and in all circumstances. The defendant in the case, Dharminder Singh Kasbia, was also ordered to pay legal costs of £11,197.50.
The order follows a raid conducted on 11 September 2018 by the council’s Trading Standards team. Four properties, consisting of eight rooms in total, were found to contain large quantities of counterfeit goods during the operation.
Conservative estimates of the value of the goods seized are in the region of £2.5m (retail value), or £500,000 (street value). In addition to fake handbags, jewellery, trainers, sunglasses, scarves, belts, headphones and watches, officers also found 5,000 prescription drug tablets in a bag, plus items which were seized as weapons, including a lump hammer, claw hammer and a modified pair of scissors.
Shopkeepers were alerted to officers arriving to conduct the raid by ‘spotters’ and fled, before locking the shops. As a result, four members of the public were trapped inside the premises and had to be freed by officers from GMP, who smashed through a heavily fortified gate at the side of the premises. The innocent members of the public told officers that they were left shaken by the experience.
This is the first time that a Premises Closure Order has been used to close premises selling counterfeit goods in Manchester. The order was brought due to the illegal activity, disorder and nuisance associated with the premises.
The order was granted in Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court on 8 October 2018 and remains in place until 7 January 2019. Anyone entering the premises during the three-month order can be arrested.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This action makes it clear that we will fight hard against any activities that inflict criminal activity, nuisance behaviour, or disorder on our neighbourhoods.”
Graham Mogg, of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, said: ”The sale of counterfeit goods undermines the rights of legitimate businesses, impacts on the local economy, breeds anti-social behaviour and funds serious crime.”