Swoop on Conran Street Market in Harpurhey nets haul of fake goods

Police swooped on a market to seize clothes, jewellery, tobacco and DVDs in a raid on counterfeit goods.

Officials from the UK Border Agency and Trading Standards joined in the search of Conran Street Market in Harpurhey in a joint operation codenamed Project Cove.

The action saw a large police presence surround the site as officers searched stalls and interviewed vendors.

Police chased one man through the market to arrest him on an outstanding warrant for criminal damage while another was arrested for selling counterfeit DVDs.

Staff from vehicle licensing authority VOSA also checked cars and vans with six vehicles seized for not having insurance or road tax.

Sniffer dogs were also brought in to search for contraband tobacco at the market, which sells clothes, food and homewares from 60 stalls.

The operation was co-ordinated by police in north Manchester who say they acted on intelligence that illegal activity was taking place there.

Insp Gareth Parkin, lead officer for Project Cove, said: “It’s important to carry out operations like this because counterfeit goods fund criminal gangs.

“It was a very worthwhile operation and we have seized clothes, jewellery, DVDs and tobacco.

“Counterfeit goods are not a victimless crime – these organisations are making thousands of pounds.

“We’ve had complaints from residents about illegal activity on the market. They say they feel intimated by the rogue individuals there. Working with other agencies sends out a clear message that we are working as a team to make criminals’ lives even harder.”

But as police closed entrances to the market some traders and customers said they thought the action was too heavy-handed. One shopper who did not want to give her name said: “I agree with them looking for stolen goods but this is just over the top.

“I’ve been coming to this market for years and most of the traders are genuine people just trying to make a living.

“I think the police should concentrate on burglaries and old people getting robbed in this area.”

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