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Kings Heath at centre of fake clothing empire

Published: 8th November 2007 23:02

counterfeit clothes raid on factory pic by Alliance Against IP TheftA factory in Kings Heath may have been the main production centre for a huge counterfeit clothing operation.

The ordinary looking industrial unit in Partons Road, off Grove Road, was exposed in a bungled ram raid. When police investigated they found rows of embroidery machines where cheap clothing was being given fake designer labels.

Officers called in Birmingham Trading Standards who are now trying to find out who was running the illegal operation.

It is believed cheap clothing was being shipped in from the Far East. It was then embroidered with fake labels such as D&G, expensive false price tags added and probably passed on to places like car boot sales and Sunday markets.

Trading Standards officers explain that shoppers would see the huge price reduction, but assume it was old stock or stolen. Instead they would have ended up buying shoddy goods and supporting a criminal underworld.

According to trade body Alliance Against IP Theft, the sale of fake clothing and footwear in the UK is putting more than £3bn a year into the hands of criminals.

Far from being a victimless crime the illegal trade is also costing local shops, traders and manufacturers nearly £3.5 billion each year in legitimate sales.

"Shoppers will be horrified to learn that their money is going straight into the pockets of organised criminals and doing a huge amount of damage to local communities through their links to organised crime, antisocial behaviour and exploitation," says Susie Winter Director General of the Alliance.

"We need to stamp out the sale of fake goods from our communities because consumers are being ripped off, and local shops and businesses are suffering."

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