NEARLY quarter of a million pounds of ‘fake’ designer goods have been seized in a Wigan house raid.
Acting on a tip-off, police officers swooped on a semi-detached dormer bungalow in Howden Drive, Hawkley Hall, shortly after 9am yesterday (Thursday).
Shocked neighbours watched as officers carried dozens of large sacks full of suspected contraband goods from the home and loaded them into the back of a police van.
Among the items in the six-figure haul are Armani underwear, Chanel perfume, fashion accessories, Ugg boots, shoes, sportswear and bags.
Police were working with Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team to recover the stash.
A man, thought to be in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of distributing counterfeit goods and detained as Trading Standards officers interviewed him.
Officers also searched another house in Anthorn Road, Winstanley, but no one was arrested and no goods were found.
Today residents nearby spoke of their disbelief at the dramatic sequence of events.
One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “I didn’t know there was anything suspicious going on at that house. I didn’t notice any strange comings and goings.
“As far as I know the man they have arrested is a respectable chap. I saw him taking his dog out for a walk and taking his lad to school.”
Another resident said: “We were shocked to see the police in the morning. There were four police officers and a plain-clothed woman on the front.
“I didn’t think there was anything too sinister as there was no ambulance, but it is still shocking.”
A police spokesman confirmed that officers executed a warrant to search both premises, but said the investigation was led by trading standards officers.
Julie Middlehurst, trading standards service manager for Wigan Council, said: “I can confirm that our officers, acting on local intelligence received concerning counterfeit goods, were involved in a joint operation with Greater Manchester Police.
“A Wigan man is in custody and is being interviewed by trading standards officers. Investigations are on-going.
“Wigan Council is serious in its commitment to tackling the trade in counterfeit and illicit goods, which is often linked to organised crime. We are committed to working closely with police and other partners to protect the public from the impact of this trade on their communities.
“I urge people to report any suspicious incidents to 08454 040506.”