It was announced that counterfeit goods valued at around £7 million were seized by police in Scotland last year as Justice Secretary Michael Matheson launched the Government’s report into Scotland’s gangs.
Officers made nearly 3,000 arrests of people known to be involved in serious organised crime.
According to the report the most common business types are licensed premises, restaurants, building and construction companies, taxis and nail bars.
More than two thirds of the gangs operate on the west coast, just 22 per cent are based in the East and 11 per cent in the North. Sixty-seven per cent Scotland’s gangs are funded by drug crime, the report says, with cocaine the biggest seller.
The report also says the Government took £9m off individuals and companies involved in criminal activity in the last 12 months, taking the total seized through proceeds of crime legislation in the 14 years it’s been in operation to more than £100m.
Matheson said: “Tackling organised crime is about much more than police raids and court trials. We need to work collectively, in our communities to tackle the harm caused by serious organised crime, to stop the cycle of deprivation and, crucially, give those involved in these activities the chance to turn their lives around. With the right education we can prevent people, including our young people, from being recruited into a life of crime.”
New Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, warned shoppers to be wary of buying fakes: “The public should be aware that counterfeit goods are often the product of serious organised crime and that by buying such goods you could be funding groups who deal in drugs and human trafficking. And if you buy goods which you know to be stolen then you could also be prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”