Police seize record-breaking £870m worth of counterfeit goods in latest Cheetham Hill raids

It was also believed to be one of the largest single seizures of worldwide too.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 4th July 2023

A UK record-breaking haul of fake goods from around Cheetham Hill’s notorious ‘counterfeit street’ area has been seized by police.

As part of what is Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) ongoing ‘Operation Vulcan’ – which is a mission to crackdown on the sale of counterfeit and hit the finances of the gangs operating out of the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas of Manchester – officers set out on what was the UK’s largest police operation to tackle the counterfeit trade earlier this week.

And it turns out it wasn’t just the largest in terms of the police operation itself, as it was also record-breaking in the amount of goods seized.

It comes after search warrants were obtained following what GMP called a “covert operation” and thanks to “intelligence from the community and partners” – with a combination of over 100 police officers and multiple agencies working together to tackle their “largest job to date” and raid 207 shipping containers.  

“Monumental quantities” of counterfeit clothes, drugs, illicit tobacco, Nitrous Oxide canisters, and counterfeit vapes from a storage unit to tackle their largest job to date, raiding 207 shipping containers.  tucked away on the outskirts of Cheetham Hill were seized, GMP confirmed.


Over 580 tonnes of counterfeit items were seized, which equated to a record-breaking £870 million.

Not only was this the largest seizure of counterfeit goods in UK history, but GMP says it’s believed to be one of the largest single seizures worldwide too.


An “intensive investigation” is now confirmed to be underway by police to “trace where the items originated” and to “ensure those involved are arrested”.

Greater Manchester Police has confirmed this was the police force’s “largest raid to date”.

Detective Inspector Christian Julien, one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers, also said this latest seizure elevates GMP “onto the global stage”, and places the force in the top three worldwide for a single seizure of counterfeit items.


“I hope that our work so far has shown the true scale of the counterfeit trade in the UK, the majority of which was on our doorstep here in Manchester,” DI Julien added.

“It’s important to recognise the serious impact of sophisticated and large-scale counterfeit operations like this, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind members of the public of its links to serious organised crime.

“It isn’t a bargain so please be under no illusions – this type of crime is not victimless.”

It was believed to be one of the largest single seizures of worldwide / Credit: GMP

He added that criminals are making “vast amounts of money” from the trade, which is being “funnelled into fuelling further criminality, exploitation, and misery”.

DI Julien went on to thank all officers from across GMO and partner agencies who came out to support the operation for “diligently contributing” to the gathering of intelligence, and the execution of the raids – adding that Operation Vulcan is a partnership effort “at its heart”.


“This may be our largest raid to date,” DI Julien went on the conclude.

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“But we must continue to build on these efforts to identify the criminal networks behind this activity whose only concern is making a profit, no matter what the cost is to the public.”

Featured Image – GMP