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NewsOperation Vulcan seizes 1040 tonnes of counterfeit goods in its first year

Operation Vulcan seizes 1040 tonnes of counterfeit goods in its first year

Greater Manchester Police is celebrating the major success of Operation Vulcan on its first anniversary.

The operation was launched on this day in 2022, with the aim of ridding the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas of the counterfeit goods trade and associated criminality.

In just one year, police have seized 1040 tonnes of counterfeit goods, which is worth an estimated £143.5 million to criminals. The loss to industry and UK economy however is up to 10 times higher, had these items been sold at full market price.

The operation has also seized over half a million pounds of criminal cash, and seized a record-breaking number of prescription drugs.

Relentless activity

The relentless activity has closed over 200 shops selling counterfeit goods, dismantled the fake goods trade in the area and disrupted the organised crime gangs.

Operation Vulcan followed a strategy of ‘clear, hold, build’ endorsed by the Home Office, which aimed to clear away the endemic criminal activity that had blighted the area for decades.

It was a different approach to local policing, but the results have been indisputable. Counterfeit crime – once entrenched and run by a complex network of organised crime groups in the area – has virtually disappeared.

Great success

The operation has been heralded as a great success and was acknowledged as a best practice model for tackling counterfeit crime.

Operation Vulcan officers have also been invited to deliver presentations and partake in panels at global Intellectual Property conferences; including Anticounterfeiting Group Annual Conference, Interpol International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference, and Football Against Fakes, hosted by the Premier League.

This year, Operation Vulcan also won the prestigious 2023 Tilley Awards, which is a national award that acknowledges and celebrates the very best examples of problem solving in UK policing.

Remarkable changes

Detective Superintendent Neil Blackwood of GMP Operation Vulcan said: “The changes seen in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways area since Operation Vulcan was introduced are quite remarkable.

“I am so proud of everything the team and our partners have achieved over the last 12 months and make no mistake; this was a partnership effort.

“Policing alone could not have solved the problems and we were fortunate to have many dedicated partners on board since day one – including Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Immigration Enforcement, Manchester Trading Standards, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, Intellectual Property Office, brand experts and more.

“We’ve said right from the beginning that counterfeit crime funds more serious criminality and I think Cheetham Hill was a clear example of this. In shutting down the counterfeit shops we’ve seen a reduction in violent crime, vehicle crime and theft.

“Over the last twelve months we have gone after the criminals at every level, cut off their funds and reinvested this back into the community we serve.

“I am extremely proud of the work of everyone involved and the results are a testament to their hard work and dedication. There is however more work to be done and we won’t rest on our success.

“Operation Vulcan goes beyond enforcement activity, and we will continue to work with the Cheetham Hill Neighbourhood Policing Team and wider partners to support the local community as we want residents and businesses to thrive here and ensure they feel proud to call this area home.”

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