£250,000 haul of fake trainers seized

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A massive £250,000 haul of fake Nike trainers– destined for Preston – has been seized in a Leyland parcel depot.

Trading Standards chiefs discovered 30,000 counterfeit trainers, 100,000 pairs of socks and 1,000 jackets at Parcelforce after intelligence from customs officers.

The goods, from China, were all destined for city addresses which are now under investigation. It is the biggest haul of counterfeit fashion items found in Lancashire this year.

Jim Potts, of Lancashire Trading Standards, said: "If people unknowingly buy counterfeit running shoes to use for sport, they risk injuring themselves because the support and design is not like a genuine trainer.

"We have had to hire some articulated storage units in addition to our normal storage because we have so many counterfeit cases pending.

"It really is a massive problem.

"This case highlights that piracy and copyright crime is not just about films; it involves designer labels and even counterfeit alcohol.

"One man in the county died after drinking industrial vodka a few years ago."

The find comes as Crimestoppers launches an appeal to encourage members of the public to shop copyright criminals who cost the county around 3m annually.

Police say reporting criminals who sell counterfeit goods can help put a stop to more sinister criminal activities.

"Such characters are often involved in other offences like drugs, human trafficking and terrorism.

Mr Potts added: "Money from sales of pirated materials can be connected to funding much more serious criminal activities, such as people smuggling and drug dealing, which is not obvious when buying a copied DVD in the street or in a local pub."

The county was hit by a piracy scandal in March 2006 after a pensioner and her son admitted selling fake DVDs at Elaine's Car Boot Sale at Botany Brow, Chorley.

Among the 377 titles on sale were several that had not at the time been officially released in this country – with a market value of 5,000.

To report copyright criminals, call Preston police on 01772 203203 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.