Police have seized an extraordinary haul of knock-off designer goods, unsafe toys and hot products in pre-Christmas raids.
More than 17,500 items were impounded by police and public bodies from shops on Oxford Street, London, in a single day.
The multi-agency Operation Jade saw four souvenir and sweet shops raided on Thursday night in the famous central London street, which has about 300 shops.
Heather Acton, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for communities and regeneration said that Oxford Street is the nation’s high street and that their shoppers should be able to trust the products they’re buying in the city that are being described on the tin.
She said the quantity and variety of goods seized by their officers were startling, and that many of those goods were unsafe and certainly unhealthy, and she said that from cheap imitations of fashionable commodities to mislabelled tobacco and even psychoactive substances it was essential that they protect their customers and get those products off the shelves.
And she said that this Christmas was a make or break for many high street shops and that checking retailers would support genuine businesses and protect the reputation of the West End as a leading destination for shoppers.
Trading standards officers confiscated 11,000 goods including hazardous toys, counterfeit clothing and nicotine products incorrectly marked and with high nicotine content. The police also impounded two bags of food that had more than the permitted legal limit of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, and 4,000 items being sold by an unregistered food business operator.
Some 2,500 souvenirs were taken from unregistered businesses and unlicensed street traders.
Meanwhile, health and safety officers served three notices for hazardous electrical goods and poor standards of safety inside premises, and it’s not the first time police have confiscated such a large haul.
Police in Manchester seized an estimated £500 million worth of fake designer goods weighing more than 200 tons from 55 storage units across Strangeways, in the north of the city, in September.
Among the assortment of items were suspected counterfeit footwear, clothing, handbags, watches, makeup, sunglasses and headphones.
Fake brand names, which are frequently imported separately to be stitched onto the counterfeit clothing and shoes, were also recovered.
Two counterfeit perfume factories were also found as well as the chemicals used to create the fake fragrances.
The operation took place with help from the City of London Police’s Intellectual Crime Property Unit and the UK Border Force.
Remember the TV show? “No income tax, no VAT”. Well, it just proves that these people that are selling think that people are real plonkers.
Oxford Street isn’t a place where you want to shop anymore, aside from the bigger stores because lockdown has destroyed the pleasure of shopping there with all those vulgar tat shops selling items to those that are silly enough to buy them.
These are just dodgy shops run by dodgy people, but the councils do nothing, apart from another fine to fill in their dodgy council pockets – God Bless Hooky Street.
But it’s not unusual tradesmen or market traders selling the usual knock-off rubbish so that they can avoid paying tax – it’s the same story every year and nothing will stop it, especially now that we’re allowing boat people into the country.
There are dozens of shops in big cities and it seems that the police close them down every couple of years, but they still open up again selling the same fake designer clothes, trainers, football shirts et cetera, but mostly a blind eye is turned.