Businesses in Hackney, East London are being warned that it is illegal to allow counterfeit goods, such as DVDs, to be sold on their premises.
Trading Standards and police officers, in partnership with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) have visited over 120 businesses around Mare Street, in the last two weeks, to advise them that it is their responsibility to make sure counterfeits are not sold on or from their premises.
Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: “Local businesses need to work with us to stop counterfeit DVDs being sold in our cafes, bars, newsagents and hairdressers. Not only do people not want to have offensive DVDs pushed under their noses, this is criminal activity and the businesses are risking prosecution themselves.”
Information packs have been distributed to businesses which set out the penalties for either selling counterfeit goods or allowing someone else to sell counterfeit goods. It can result in a prison sentence or up to 10 years and/or an unlimited fine, as well as having a trade licence revoked.
Sergeant Michaela Medcraft of Hackney’s Chatham ward, said: “This is not a victimless crime; counterfeiting is known to have links to organised crime and we will continue to work with our partners to make sure we tackle this illegal activity. The feedback we have had from businesses and local residents has been overwhelmingly positive and the campaign will hopefully raise awareness amongst local business people of their responsibilities.”
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, added: “I am delighted to help launch this unique and innovative approach to curb the criminal sale of knock off DVDs in Hackney.”
Two black Labradors owned by the Motion Picture Association and FACT, Lucky and Flo, the first animals in the world to be trained to sniff out optical discs, were also used to check that no DVDs were being stored in shops on Mare Street. The dogs will be making return visits to Hackney in the near future.
Window stickers, in English and Mandarin which warn that counterfeit sellers are not welcome inside have also been widely distributed.
If you are offered goods of any type which you think may be counterfeit or stolen call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.