fbpx
INVESTIGATORS & SECURITY CONSULTANTS

Blog

Excellent Court Result After Biggest Ever UK Counterfeit Clothing Haul

Surelock is proud to have assisted Birmingham City Council Trading Standards on this operation on behalf of our clients.  It was the largest seizure of counterfeit clothing ever in the United Kingdom.  The press release from Birmingham trading Standards is reproduced below:

Birmingham Trading Standards has secured its biggest ever Proceeds of Crime Act award after a company boss, who was convicted of selling counterfeit clothing on an industrial scale, was ordered to repay almost £5.5 million 

Banti Sohal, aged 41, formerly of Bernard Road, Edgbaston, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in April last year after admitting 17 charges under the Trades Mark Act.

He was charged after city council trading standards officers made their biggest ever haul of counterfeit clothing in the West Midlands. Surelock assisted in this investigation together with other trade mark representatives.

They raided a warehouse in Smethwick in November 2008 where they discovered around 100,000 items of fake Nike, Timberland, Fred Perry, Drunknmunky, Ecko Rhino, Sean John and Henri Lloyd clothing.

Had the clothing been genuine it would have been worth up to £9 million but the estimated street value was £6 million.

NR Sohal and Sons’ registered premises was a shop in City Road, Edgbaston, but just a short distance away it had a huge warehouse in Heath Street, Smethwick, where the counterfeit clothing, imported from China, was stored.

The £5,380,000 confiscation order was made at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, March 18 2011.

Advice for Buying Olympic & Paralympic Tickets

The 2012 ticket ballot opens today.   The Met’s Operation Podium urges you to follow this advice to protect you, your personal details, family and friends from being exploited by criminals.

If you’re buying a ticket for the Games:

• The 2012 ticket ballot opens on the 15th March. You have until 26 April to apply for tickets through LOCOG as it is not first come first served;

• Only apply for a ticket online at www.tickets.london2012.com. This is London 2012’s official site. You can get a paper application from any Lloyds TSB branch, or from any public library in Northern Ireland;

• If you get a ticket for an event you can’t attend, you can return your ticket to get a refund through the London 2012 official ticket exchange. Your ticket will then be officially resold;

• Don’t buy a ticket from an unauthorised website or tout. You risk being scammed, and not getting the ticket you wanted and paid for;

• There are only three official providers for Games Breaks and Hospitality Packages in the UK – these are:

– Thomas Cook – www.thomascooklondon2012.com

– Prestige Travel – www.prestigeticketing.london2012.com

– Jet Set Travel – www.jetsetsports.com

• Other websites or companies will not be authorised to sell you a ticket as part of a package. Always check the terms and conditions to see exactly what you are being sold;

If you find tickets for sale before the 15th March 2011 or available from any unauthorised source at anytime, don’t buy them. They are not genuine. Report it to www.actionfraud.org.uk, London 2012 via [email protected] or your local police force.

Advice When Purchasing Olympic and Paralympic Tickets

The 2012 ticket ballot opens today.   The Met’s Operation Podium urges you to follow this advice to protect you, your personal details, family and friends from being exploited by criminals.

If you’re buying a ticket for the Games:

• The 2012 ticket ballot opens on the 15th March. You have until 26 April to apply for tickets through LOCOG as it is not first come first served;

• Only apply for a ticket online at www.tickets.london2012.com. This is London 2012’s official site. You can get a paper application from any Lloyds TSB branch, or from any public library in Northern Ireland;

• If you get a ticket for an event you can’t attend, you can return your ticket to get a refund through the London 2012 official ticket exchange. Your ticket will then be officially resold;

• Don’t buy a ticket from an unauthorised website or tout. You risk being scammed, and not getting the ticket you wanted and paid for;

• There are only three official providers for Games Breaks and Hospitality Packages in the UK – these are:

– Thomas Cook – www.thomascooklondon2012.com

– Prestige Travel – www.prestigeticketing.london2012.com

– Jet Set Travel – www.jetsetsports.com

• Other websites or companies will not be authorised to sell you a ticket as part of a package. Always check the terms and conditions to see exactly what you are being sold;

If you find tickets for sale before the 15th March 2011 or available from any unauthorised source at anytime, don’t buy them. They are not genuine. Report it to www.actionfraud.org.uk, London 2012 via [email protected] or your local police force.

New Measures Needed to Tackle Metal Theft, say Police

British Transport Police (BTP) is calling for new measures to tackle the increasing problem of metal theft.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther, who also leads the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Conductive Metal Theft Working Group, has called for measures which would allow senior police officers to close down scrap metal dealers who fail to abide by industry standard working practices.

DCC Crowther said: “We need the powers to tackle the heart of this problem effectively, allowing us to shut down scrap metal dealers who continue to flout the law and provide a market for thieves through buying and selling stolen metal.

“With the high price of metal on world markets at the moment, thieves who sell to willing or unwitting dealers are getting good returns for their criminal activity.

“This is a crime which really impacts on people’s everyday lives. Take, for example, the small business left struggling because their broadband cable has been ripped out by thieves simply looking to make a quick buck.

“Metal theft is far from a victimless crime and can cause enormous problems for local communities and industry.”

To date, in 2010, there has been a significant rise in the number of incidents recorded by BTP, culminating in a new record being set in April when just less than 300 incidents were reported during the month.

This year to date BTP has recorded 1,855 cable-related offences and has made almost 500 arrests.

DCC Crowther added: “In recent months we have seen significant problems caused to both the East and West Coast Mainline due to cable theft with both routes suffering extensive delays and cancellations.

“Away from the railways, the actions of metal thieves have left entire communities, including hospitals and other vital services, without power. They have caused widespread broadband failures, and have even stripped some towns of their war memorials.”

BTP and local police forces have been working hard to tackle those involved in the thefts, but senior officers now feel the time has come to address the methods used by thieves to sell the stolen metal.

The ACPO group, which includes representatives from the British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA), has helped to draft a code of conduct for scrap metal dealers – setting out a number of conditions all dealers should adhere to, including: 

  • All reasonable steps should be taken to ensure stolen metals are not bought
  • Metals should only be accepted from those who present sufficient proof of identity and ownership (paper trails make it far easier for authorities to trace those who bring in stolen metals)
  • All staff should be trained in administrative processes and all paperwork should be relevant and kept up-to-date
  • Suspicious people and transactions should be reported to the police
  • Dealers should co-operate withpolice and local authorities by allowing access and inspection when requested

In addition, ACPO would like to see an end to cash transactions at scrap dealers. This would stop thieves being able to make a ‘quick buck’ and would introduce a secondary level of identification as all payments would have to be made to a named account.

The code of conduct is close to being ratified by the industry and could hold the key to further success in tackling metal theft.

DCC Crowther continued: “The BMRA has been has acted responsibly in looking to bring in the voluntary code of conduct and I would like to thank them for this approach.

“But this would only cover their members and could disadvantage them, as non-members could flout the code and potentially earn more business as a result.

“We would, therefore, like to see the practices of the code made enforceable across the industry – setting clear guidelines for all scrap metal dealers.

“Police forces have seen success with licensing laws, which govern bars, pubs and clubs and allow officers to close them down if the terms of their license are breached. We want see if similar legislation could help us tackle this form of criminality.”

Dyan Crowther, director of operational services, Network Rail, said: “Metal thieves targeting the railway are causing misery to thousands of passengers, with many people missing business appointments or having disruption to holidays and days out through the selfish and dangerous actions of a few.

“We are doing everything we can to deter such thefts and protect our vital railway. Working in partnership with the police, more and more culprits and scrap metal dealers are being caught. We support any move that gives police the ability to close down dealers who are acting illegally in order to remove the market for stolen metal.”

Acknowledgement: Rochdale News, 25th October 2010

The ‘Grate’ Colne Scrap Metal Theft Hunt

Residents in Colne’s Waterside area have been urged to look out for scrap metal thieves stealing grates.

An investigation has been ordered into a number of thefts of grid covers, after reports that one woman suffered an ankle injury after fallling into a hole left by a missing grate.

And neighbours are being urged to watch for suspicious activity along the area’s sloping terrace streets.

Talks are also to be undertaken with Lancashire County Council, as the highway authority, over possible replacements.

Dorothy Lord, a Waterside councillor, raised the issue at a Colne area committee earlier this year.

Grates had been going missing from areas off Albert Road and Burnley Road.

Residents told councillors they had been taken from Dent Street, Gill Street, and Francis Street.

The question of funding replacement grates, in the current economic climate, may present an obstacle, though.

Pendle’s engineering and special projects manager Peter Atkinson, in an executive report, said: “If this council was to consider funding such work then the estimated cost of replacing a missing gully grid with a suitable metal one was £175, “And to replace with a plastic alternative would be £150.

“There would be a potential problem with the plastics ones as it was likely that they would not fit all of the many types of existing frames.”

Borough police and the multi-agency problem solving team, which involves a number of public sector bodies, have been alerted over the grates issue.

And quotes are being obtained from an environ-mental firm over the definitive cost of plastic grates.

Council chiefs also intend to launch an awareness campaign to encourage residents to report grate thefts and any suspicious activity surrounding them.

Acknowledgement: The Lancashire Telegraph, 12th November 2010

Narrow Boat Owners Don’t Have Mushroom

Sorry for the pun but metal theft has now taken to the water.  Narrow boat owners in New Haw in Surrey have been targeted by thieves in a spate of crimes along the River Wey.

Brass ventilation covers, known as mushrooms, have been stolen from the roofs of narrow boats moored on the River Wey.  In four incidents a total of 15 mushrooms were stolen.  Boat owner, Peter Harman from Horsell has his boat moored on the River Wey.  He will have to spend about £250 to replace the stolen mushrooms.  Mr Harman said the brass equipment allowed natural ventilation of the cabin space without being affected by the weather.  He added: “I wanted to let other boat owners know what is happening so they can take precautions and so they don’t have their property removed.”

Crime reduction officer for Runnymede, PC Philip Grant, said: “I would appeal to everyone to keep their eyes peeled when they are close to the River Wey where boats are moored.  There is a close knit community around the river and I would advise people to look out for each other to put a stop to this type of offence”.

If you have information or witnessed these crimes, call Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 quoting reference RM/10/6670.

Acknowledgement: Byfleet, West Byfleet, Pyrford & New Haw News & Mail

Surelock Assists Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Secure Convictions

Surelock work closely on behalf of our clients with Trading Standards Services all over UK and the work we do often results in prosecutions and Court proceedings, here are two very excellent results from our work with Brent and Harrow Trading Standards:-

Two Traders Sentenced for Selling Fake Goods

Two traders caught selling fake goods pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on 6th August 2010 for a number of trade mark offences. 

Habib Melloul (aged 28) of Shrewsbury Street, Kensington and Chelsea was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £2,000 in prosecution costs to the London Boroughs of Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service. 

His wife, Aisha Melloul (aka Caryl Hubbard), aged 28, who was also involved in the business, was given a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to perform 80 hours of unpaid community work. In addition, she was ordered to pay £3,000 towards the cost of the prosecution,

The court heard Habib Melloul and Aisha Melloul were jointly involved in the purchase, storing and onward distribution of counterfeit shoes, clothing and bags.  The goods were sold at Wembley and Portobello markets and on e-Bay and Amazon websites.

Court Confiscates £254,000 from Counterfeit Goods Dealer

On Monday 23rd August 2010 at Inner London Crown Court, Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service secured the confiscation of £254,000 from Nazakat Hussain after he was caught dealing in counterfeit goods from Wembley Market. His Honor Judge Chapple made the order for this confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and gave him six months to pay up.

Confiscation proceedings were instituted last year following the successful conviction of Mr Hussain by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service, which resulted in him being sentenced to two years in prison for supplying counterfeit goods from stalls at Wembley market. The Trading Standards Service used the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which came into force to strip criminals of their ill gotten gains, to expose Mr Hussain’s finances and assets over a six year period. These detailed investigations revealed that Mr Hussain owned three houses, a business premise, a six series convertible BMW and that he had thousands of pounds in various bank accounts. All of these assets were then subject to restraint orders imposed by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service in order to prevent them from disappearing.

 During the hearing on 23rd August 2010, the court accepted that Mr Hussain had benefited to the value of £600,000 from his criminal activities and that the amount available to him to pay was £254,000.

 Mr Hussain will now have to pay the order in full within the next six months or he will face serving a default prison sentence, which was set at 3 years. Should he serve a term in prison in default for non payment of the order, he would still owe the full amount. Furthermore, any outstanding balance after the six months deadline would start attracting interest.

Surelock Helps Brent and Harrow TS Secure Convictions

Surelock work closely on behalf of our clients with Trading Standards Services all over UK and the work we do often results in prosecutions and Court proceedings, here are two very excellent results from our work with Brent and Harrow Trading Standards:-

Two Traders Sentenced for Selling Fake Goods

Two traders caught selling fake goods pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on 6th August 2010 for a number of trade mark offences.

Habib Melloul (aged 28) of Shrewsbury Street, Kensington and Chelsea was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £2,000 in prosecution costs to the London Boroughs of Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service.

His wife, Aisha Melloul (aka Caryl Hubbard), aged 28, who was also involved in the business, was given a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to perform 80 hours of unpaid community work. In addition, she was ordered to pay £3,000 towards the cost of the prosecution,

The court heard Habib Melloul and Aisha Melloul were jointly involved in the purchase, storing and onward distribution of counterfeit shoes, clothing and bags.  The goods were sold at Wembley and Portobello markets and on e-Bay and Amazon websites.

Court Confiscates £254,000 from Counterfeit Goods Dealer

On Monday 23rd August 2010 at Inner London Crown Court, Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service secured the confiscation of £254,000 from Nazakat Hussain after he was caught dealing in counterfeit goods from Wembley Market. His Honor Judge Chapple made the order for this confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and gave him six months to pay up.

Confiscation proceedings were instituted last year following the successful conviction of Mr Hussain by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service, which resulted in him being sentenced to two years in prison for supplying counterfeit goods from stalls at Wembley market. The Trading Standards Service used the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which came into force to strip criminals of their ill gotten gains, to expose Mr Hussain’s finances and assets over a six year period. These detailed investigations revealed that Mr Hussain owned three houses, a business premise, a six series convertible BMW and that he had thousands of pounds in various bank accounts. All of these assets were then subject to restraint orders imposed by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service in order to prevent them from disappearing.

During the hearing on 23rd August 2010, the court accepted that Mr Hussain had benefited to the value of £600,000 from his criminal activities and that the amount available to him to pay was £254,000.

Mr Hussain will now have to pay the order in full within the next six months or he will face serving a default prison sentence, which was set at 3 years. Should he serve a term in prison in default for non payment of the order, he would still owe the full amount. Furthermore, any outstanding balance after the six months deadline would start attracting interest.

Don’t Put Up With Counterfeits!

Surelock is one of the premier investigative companies in the UK specialising in intellectual property rights investigations and trade mark infringements worldwide

LET US TAKE YOUR COUNTERFEITS OFF THE STREET

  • During 2008 we seized approximately £12,400,000 million worth of counterfeit clothing and merchandise jointly on behalf of our clients, we carried out a number of pro-active operations, involving observations and surveillance and as a result of which we raided 15 x retail outlets; 11 x wholesalers / internet warehouses; 25 x markets; conducted 17 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK, and German Customs authorities, 10 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK Police Forces and 136 x authentication examinations on behalf of various trading standards authorities all over UK.
  • 2009 was our most successful year yet, we seized approximately £15,000,000 million worth of counterfeit clothing and merchandise jointly on behalf of our clients nationwide, we have continued to cultivate a number of good quality informants at the heart of these criminal activities whose accurate information has assisted us and the authorities to bring about these results, we have in actual fact been commended by the authorities on a number of occasions for this accurate intelligence. We have carried out a number of pro-active operations, involving observations and surveillance and as a result of which we raided 33 x retail outlets; 14 x wholesalers / internet warehouses; 41 x markets; conducted 55 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK, and European Customs authorities, 15 x authentication examinations on behalf of UK Police Forces and 155 x authentication examinations on behalf of various trading standards authorities all over UK.

Police to Crackdown on Fake 2012 Olympics Tickets

Police in London will set up specialist teams to investigate counterfeit tickets and other fraud attempts at the 2012 Olympics but, according to Which? Computing, online scammers have already turned their interests toward selling ‘fake’ tickets to the event on the web.

Tickets for the London Games go on sale next year but police are already monitoring e-tickets and internet domain names they suspect have been registered to sell fake tickets.  The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is also putting together a dedicated team to deal with crime surrounding the Olympics.

An increasing number of domain names are being purchased from UK ISP addresses that bear reference to the Olympics. It’s not difficult to obtain one; it’s a case of registering with a hosting company, checking the availability of your desired site name, and registering the domain! Which? Computing proved just how easy it is, by registering their own Olympic referenced site.

Although the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), are trying their best to highlight this problem, Which? Computing say that more needs to be done in order to wipe the web clear of fraudsters, once and for all.

The editor of Which? Computing, Sarah Kidner mentioned that several sites on the web already promise tickets for events that simply don’t exist.  Rules and regulations have to be enforced, to make sure that scammers get wiped out.