London: Cheetham Hill in Manchester is Britain's counterfeit capital, according to a new government report, days after authorities seized fake goods worth 1.5 million pounds during raids.
The trade in counterfeit brands continues to flourish there despite a series of high-profile raids which have seen fake goods worth millions seized by the authorities, according to the Intellectual Property Office.
Manchester, a major city in the northwest of England, has a rich industrial heritage.
The latest in a series of raids in the area saw police and trading standards seize goods worth 1.5 million pounds during raids at 14 shops before Christmas, Manchester Evening Post reported.
A million counterfeit cigarettes and 70 kilos of fake tobacco with an estimated value of over 5 million pounds were seized in 2014.
In 2013, 1 million pounds of fake designer clothes, handbags and footwear were intercepted. Fake vodka worth 250,000 pounds was seized in 2010.
"It is indicative of the entrenched criminal culture of the area that the trade in counterfeit goods has continued despite regular enforcement action and high-volume seizures," the report said.
It added: "Cheetham Hill occupies a focal point in the UK market for counterfeit goods. In addition to the significant retail trade occurring directly from premises in the area, there is also information suggesting that local wholesale operations supply counterfeit goods to online and in-person traders across the UK."
Cheetham Hill's counterfeiters trade out of shops, private homes, car boots and via the internet using aliases and working through 'closed' social media groups.
They have links to serious organised crime, drug dealing and violence, the report said.
Minister for intellectual property Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: "Working together we have made a significant impact on intellectual property crime across the UK however problem areas such as Cheetham Hill still exist.
"This trade, where income tax and consumers safety is simply ignored, undercuts and undermines legitimate businesses and allows other criminality to be funded and flourish," she said.
Nationally some 1.6 million fake items were intercepted at border crossings in 2014/15, according to the report.
Some 75,000 of the fakes bore the logo of one un-named brand-holder, it said. The value of the genuine articles would have been 2.5 million pounds.