full screen background image

Eight arrests as huge haul of fake cash, cigarettes, clothes and drugs seized

Eight men have been arrested after a huge haul of illegal goods was seized by police and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Sniffer dogs uncovered cannabis and almost 50,000 individual doses of unlicsenced medication which was taken away to be destroyed.

HMRC said its officers had seized 137,000 illegal cigarettes and 73 kilos of tobacco and £2,000 in counterfeit notes.

Operation Handcraft saw raids on nine shops and business properties in the Strangeways and Cheetham Hill area on Thursday morning.

Officers recovered an entire lorry load of illegal goods including over £2 million in counterfeit clothing.

One eyewitness told SalfordOnline how he was caught up in the swoop as officers descended on Strangeways.

“There was around 40 police in total who arrived at around 10am.

“They were searching cars and going into shops all along Cheetham Hill Road.

“I was boxed in and they wouldn’t let me leave.

“By the end they had a lorry stuffed full of gear to take away.”

Six men were arrested for immigration offences.

Two men age 30 and 62 were arrested by HMRC on suspicion of tax evasion and have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

The multi-agency operation was led by HMRC and included police, Salford and Manchester council, trading standards, immigration, health and intellectual property agencies.

Police spent around six hours at the scene.

Investigations into the arrests and seizures are ongoing.

Rebekah Sutcliffe, Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police said: “This is a great result and a fantastic example of what can be achieved through working closely with our partners in HMRC and Trading Standards.

“The Strangeways area is one of the largest counterfeit goods suppliers in the UK and the sale of these products has a huge impact on local taxpayers and businesses, as well as potentially funding more serious and violent crime.

“Today we send a message that we will not allow people to profit from flooding the streets of our communities with counterfeit goods – it will not be tolerated.”

Facebook Comments

Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.