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Counterfeit goods worth £100,000 found at busy Brighton market
Counterfeit tobacco, clothing and DVDs worth almost £100,000 have been seized from a bank holiday market.
Stall holders abandoned their goods and fled as police and trading standards officers carried out a raid at Brighton Racecourse market.
In total, 11 stalls were either closed down or abandoned as officers approached them as a result of the operation.
Items seized by officers included 1,500 pouches of counterfeit tobacco with a retail value of £23,000, as well as a large number of clothing items, accessories, DVDs and sunglasses.
The total retail value of the haul from Monday’s raid is estimated to be £98,000.
A 27-year-old man from East London was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of counterfeit tobacco and was released on police bail until October 21.
Detective Inspector Chris Neilson, of Sussex Police’s economic crime unit, said: “While many people see the sale of counterfeit goods as a victimless crime, often the goods are poor quality and can in some cases be dangerous.
“Many people do not realise that there are clear links between counterfeit goods and organised crime, including terrorism and people trafficking.
“The sale of these goods also affects local legitimate businesses.”
The operation was part of an ongoing drive by trading standards, police and the Intellectual Property Office, in conjunction with outdoor market organisers across Sussex, to stop the sale of counterfeit goods at local markets.
Brighton and Hove Council trading standards staff, as well as colleagues from East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, and representatives of clothing and accessory manufacturers took part in Monday’s operation.
Councillor Pete West said: “Those that are selling counterfeit goods are undermining the vast majority of market traders who operate legitimately, as well as potentially putting the public in danger and contributing to crime.”
A Brighton Racecourse spokesman said it was aware of the arrest, adding: “Town and Country Markets, a leading private market operator, has managed this market for a number of years, offering a safe and vibrant market.
“As with all markets operated by the firm, the managers offered their full support and co-operation eradicating and removing the counterfeit merchandise.”
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