£15m of counterfeit goods seized

Counterfeit goodsTrading standards officers have seized counterfeit goods thought to be worth up to £15 million.

The "unprecedented" seizure of hundreds of boxes of items ranging from up-market headphones, DVDs and music CDs, to counterfeit branded clothing is thought to be one of the biggest ever made by trading standards officers on the UK mainland.
Among the haul were copies of the trendy Beats by Dr Dre headphones, which usually retail for between £90 and £450 each. It is believed the goods were destined for bootleg stalls at markets around the country in the run-up to Christmas.

The crates are now being stored at a secure site in Staffordshire, but the exact location is being withheld for security reasons. It was initially thought the total value of the goods was about £10 million, but a more detailed stock-take has pushed that value up towards the £15 million mark, according to trading standards.

The goods were discovered after a raid on premises in Birmingham by trading standards and Staffordshire Police officers on December 6.

The location came from a tip-off, after several sets of the bootleg headphones were seized from market stall-holders trading across Staffordshire. Nobody has been arrested, but police investigations are continuing.

Pat Corfield, of Staffordshire County Council, said: "Our trading standards officers are confident they have smashed a major supply route in the manufacture and retail of counterfeit goods.

"The scale of this seizure is unprecedented and we believe it may be the biggest single seizure of counterfeit goods by a trading standards team anywhere in the country and certainly here in the Midlands.

"Officers were amazed at the size of the haul as they catalogued and recorded the goods before they were removed to a secure storage facility.

"This included hundreds of pairs of counterfeit Beats by Dr Dre headphones and fake branded clothing, which could have hit the streets in the run-up to Christmas and into 2013."
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