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Cannabis and suspected fake clothes seized from Walsall's Bescot Market

Walsall | Crime | Published:

Bags of cannabis and hundreds of suspected fake clothes, trainers, perfume and jewellery were seized in a pre-Christmas raid on a Walsall market.

PC Sue Rai of Walsall Police with Birmingham City Council trading standards enforcement officer Mohammed Tariq - who assisted Walsall on the raid - with four bags of cannabis

Walsall Council’s Trading Standards team, alongside police and brand protection officers, raided the popular Bescot Market on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of pounds worth of fake goods was seized from the market, including 33 bags from one trader alone.

A quantity of cannabis was discovered amongst suspected counterfeit goods during the raid on a stall at Bescot Market in Walsall on Sunday, December 16. Photo by Gurdip Thandi

It is not known if the cannabis found was intended for supply or for personal use and police are now investigating.

Acting on information supplied to them, enforcement officers visited stalls where suspected criminal activity was taking place and began investigations.

A host of items including perfume, clothing, trainers and make-up, all believed to be fake, was uncovered in a trader's van during a raid at Bescot Market on Sunday, December 16

At one stall seemingly selling a modest amount of hats and clothing, a man claimed to be holding the fort for the owner and said he knew nothing about the items on sale.

But as officers started finding goods they believed to be fake under the stall, the man started giving the goods away for free to passing shoppers as a “Christmas gift” to them before he left the scene.

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Further checks of a van parked behind the stall revealed it belonged to the man on the stall and was packed with a range of goods.

Suspected counterfeit Manchester City and Liverpool shirts were seized during the raid on a stall at Bescot Market on Sunday, December 16. Photo by Gurdip Thandi LDR

Officers seized a total of 33 bags full of clothing, perfume, jewellery and accessories bearing top designer names including Versace, Armani, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Ugg and Louis Vitton.

Elsewhere, officers uncovered boxes of Nike and Adidas trainers which filled a further 14 bags to be taken away.

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T-shirts and tops bearing the names of popular rock bands were also seized from another stall.

The teams were subject to animosity and abuse from members of the public as they carried out the raid but Lesley Jenkins, from Walsall Trading Standards, said the result fully justified their reasons for carrying out such enforcement.

She said: “I think the operation went well, considering the traders were obviously jittery before we had even arrived.

“We’ve had bigger hauls in the past but we are looking at tens of thousands of pounds worth of goods and we’ve caused disruption to criminal activity which was the main aim of the day.

“Counterfeiting is a good way of making a lot of money fast and that money gets put into more serious organised crime.

More than 30 bags full of seized goods believed to be counterfeit were collected by officers during a raid at Bescot Market in Walsall on Sunday, December 16. Photo by Gurdip Thandi

“You have links with drugs, trafficking and terrorism offences and that is something a lot of people don’t see. They see us as coming out to spoil their Christmas shopping but they don’t stop and think, ‘what does the money go into?’”

She added operations such as this were a partnership with other organisations such as the police, Bescot market operators and brand protection teams – who work on behalf of the big companies.

She said: “We couldn’t do a lot of this without their input. These days the copies are so good, it’s difficult for us to see whereas they know the minute details to tell whether it is genuine or not.”

By Gurdip Thandi

Local Democracy Reporter

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