Police shut another 18 ‘counterfeit street’ shops and seize £6m worth of fake goods

GMP says it has been "relentlessly targeting" illegitimate shops.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 10th April 2023

Another 18 illegal shops have been shut down and over £6 million worth of counterfeit clothing has been seized by police.

Although a series of raids towards the end of February this year prompted Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to claim that “the end of counterfeit street” was closer than ever before, the Easter period has historically been one of the busiest times of year for shops selling illegal goods.

This is why the force says it has used “relentless action” over the last two weeks or so to target the illegitimate premises.

As part of the ongoing ‘Operation Vulcan’ – which is GMP’s mission to crackdown on the sale of counterfeit goods and hit the finances of the gangs operating out of the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas of Manchester – a total of 18 shops have been shut down in 14 days, and over £6 million worth of counterfeit clothing has been seized.

GMP says this is “a huge loss of earning for the nefarious shop owners” and means millions of pounds have been removed from the criminal market.  


Dilapidated buildings littered with rat urine and faeces, dangerous homemade electricity, hidden weapons, and shops without proper means of escape are just some of the things police say they have encountered within the past couple of weeks.

Everything seized by police during the raids is soon be sent off to be repurposed and recycled, according to GMP, and will be turned into items to benefit the wider Manchester community – including coats, hats, insulation, and even energy for houses.


GMP says it will continue to target the remaining illegal premises.

“We have been relentlessly targeting these illegitimate shops, but we are aware of the few remaining units who are attempting to operate in the area,” explained Inspector Andy Torkington – one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers.

“We will be targeting these premises imminently and our investigations will continue as we seek out and arrest those involved [as while] we are seeing excellent progress in the area, and the feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly supportive, there is still more to be done.


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“The criminality has been embedded into the area for decades, and we’re under no illusion that five months of relentless action will solve it.

“But these results show great strides in the right direction.”

Featured Image – GMP