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Fake fancy dress seized during successful month for Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit

  • Yesterday (30 August 2017), officers from the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) executed a search warrant at four addresses in Manchester’s Cheetham Hill area.

  • Hundreds of fancy dress items of clothing bearing unauthorised trademarks were seized. 

The co-ordinated operation, involving PIPCU and fancy dress manufacturers Rubie’s Masquerade resulted in two men aged 38 and 47 from Manchester and one female 34 from Manchester, being arrested and interviewed under caution. The investigation remains ongoing.  

The operation was initiated following a crime report made by Rubie's Masquerade to PIPCU earlier this year. 

Counterfeit fancy dress clothing is not subjected to the same rigorous testing as genuine items and therefore poses a public safety risk to consumers. The risks could involve suffocation, poisoning from untested dyes and colourings and strangulation due to the lack of appropriate fastenings. Furthermore, the packaging of the clothing does not meet safety standards.  

The warrant took place following a particularly successful month for PIPCU as the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has agreed additional funding of £3.32 million for PIPCU, to cover the period to 30 June 2019.  

The funding was officially announced at this year’s Intellectual Property Crime Conference in New York. The conference, co-hosted by Interpol, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, brought together government, law enforcement and industry to address the global threats from intellectual property crime. 

Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police, Alistair Sutherland, who opened the conference with a key note speech, said of the funding: 

“This illustrates the faith our Government has in City of London Police, and PIPCU, to protect the UK from intellectual property crime.”

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