February 3rd 2015
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has dismantled a suspected crime network believed to have been running a mini counterfeiting factory producing and selling clothing carrying the names and logos of famous musicians online.
Intellectual property crime is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year, with organised crime gangs causing significant damage to industries that are produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content in an increasingly competitive climate
The early morning operation resulted in the arrest of a man and a woman at their east London home and a second man at the factory where the discovery of machinery, printing equipment, ink and thousands of t-shirts was made .
The gang are believed to have made up to £100,000 in profit selling a range of clothing bearing artists name that include Nirvana, Obey, Superman, Motorhead and Justin Bieber, all of which are protected under trademark licenses.
Following a referral to PIPCU by Surelock (a global investigators and security consultants) in March 2014 detectives made a series of test purchases, linking a number eBay and PayPal accounts involved in the sale of counterfeit goods to the suspects.
The two men, aged 38 and 32, and the one woman, aged 22, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, possession of articles to be used in fraud and offences under the Trademark Act.
Two were questioned at a City of London Police station before being later released on bail until August. The third is due to be interviewed in the coming days.
Detective Sergeant Kevin Kirton, who led the investigation for PIPCU, said: “Today’s operation has shown once again that PIPCU will come down hard on anyone we suspect of being involved in the production and distribution of digital or hard counterfeit goods. It is vitally important for businesses that they can trade in the UK in a market place that is a fair and level playing field for all. Anyone who we believe is seeking to compromise this market place and make criminal capital out of other people’s hard work runs the risk of receiving an early morning visit from PIPCU.”
If you suspect someone is selling counterfeit goods you can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers at https://crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.
If you have unknowingly bought fake goods you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
PIPCU is run by the City of London Police and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).