More than GBP 1.5 million-worth of pirated goods including DVDs and CDs have been seized in a series of raids.
The swoops – carried out at London’s Wembley market over four weekends in November and December – resulted in two arrests and netted a substantial haul of fake goods.
The ‘Operation Dawn’ raids – involving trading standards officers, police and immigration and benefits officials – were the first to be carried out as part of a national intellectual property (IP) crime strategy.
Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury said: ‘The national IP crime strategy has dealt the first blow to the pirates.
‘Seizing more than GBP 1.5m worth of goods and hitting the crime networks that support the sale of counterfeit goods is a significant step forward in tackling the threat to legitimate business posed by pirated goods.
‘The government has recognised that intellectual property crime is a growing international problem and has responded with a well-organised and effective strategy, of which these raids are just the latest move in stamping out this kind of criminal activity.’
The January 2006 issue of Which? will report on the dangers posed by some counterfeit goods. We carried out safety tests on items we bought from high streets, markets and the internet.
The global trade in pirated goods is estimated to be worth around GBP 250 billion a year, while around 40 per cent of all CDs and cassettes sold around the globe are counterfeit copies.
The government’s consumer helpline, Consumer Direct , says that shoppers worried about fake goods should always examine the quality of the goods and check labels and packaging for misspellings and poor logos.
It adds that people should take extra care at street markets, car boot sales, pubs and computer fairs, or in other situations where it may be more difficult to get in touch with the trader after the purchase.