Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police served prohibition notices to 28 retailers this week for failing to adhere to government-imposed lockdown rules.
Several stores were found to be trading illegally in the Strangeways and Cheetham Hill Road area on Thursday 4 June and have since been ordered to close.
Any retailer found breaching prohibition notices can be prosecuted and hit with an unlimited fine.
The council has emphasised that local businesses in the area have responsibilities to help keep the public and their staff safe – and that opening stores poses great risk.
“Criminals need to know that we will not tolerate their illegal behaviour and equally, we will not stand idle as landlords do nothing to prevent criminality on their literal doorstep,” said Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods.
“Residents of Manchester are reminded that non-essential retail businesses remain closed to access and that by visiting counterfeit traders in this area they are putting their health at risk as well as funding organised crime.”
Superintendent Rebecca Boyce at Greater Manchester Police added: “Many businesses across Greater Manchester have been complying with government guidelines and legal requirements and we appreciate the ways in which people and business owners have adapted to these changes.
“However, there have been a small minority that have continued to remain open, which is risking the health of their staff and anyone that enters the premises.
“We understand the disruption these regulations have made to everyone’s lives, however they are in place to protect everyone and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Both the Council’s trading standards body and GMP have been ramping up operations to prevent illegal trading in the city.
According to the council, new steps are being taken prosecute the criminals selling counterfeit goods throughout Manchester – as well as the landlords who allow criminal activity on their property.