Two Hove charities are benefiting from a crackdown on counterfeit clothes traders.
Investigators seized fake designer clothing – worth £300,000 if it had been legitimate – at the Brighton Racecourse market on the bank holiday Monday at the end of August (Monday 30 August).
The investigation was run jointly by Brighton and Hove City Council trading standards officers and police from the newly formed South East Regional Asset Recovery Team.
The intelligence-led operation led to the arrest of three men and a boy of 14, all from London, at one stall.
As they were being arrested the people running the neighbouring stall ran off and left all their stock.
The items seized came from the two stalls and three vans connected with the stalls as was £1,535 cash.
They four people who were held were arrested on suspicion of counterfeit offences under the Trade Marks Act and were bailed without charge until Tuesday 12 October while inquiries continue.
The fake clothes had labels which included Stone Island, Armani, Ralph Lauren and many other prestigious brands.
Police said that they would have been sold at a fraction of the legitimate retail value for genuine items.
Now the national charity His Church is providing a donation of similar counterfeit clothing seized during previous operations across Britain, from which they have removed all the fake labels.
On Friday the donation was given to Off the Fence in Portland Road, Hove. Off the Fence supports homeless and vulnerable people.
His Church also gave food to St Patrick’s in Cambridge Road, Hove, the Clock Tower Project and The Salvation Army.
On their way back to their Lincolnshire base, the His Church team will collect the clothing seized in the Brighton raid from a police store near Crowborough.
They will then strip the labels from that load and recycle the clothing back into future similar deliveries to charities across the country.
Detective Inspector Simon Harsley, of the police team, said: “This is a way in which we can get community benefit out of criminality.
“The traders have lost the benefit of the goods, and at the same time we can support local charities.”
Councillor Dee Simson, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “We are pleased to be working with police officers on this crackdown.
“Thanks to improved technology, fake goods are an increasing problem and counterfeiting is often linked with organised crime.
“It’s very satisfying to know that local charities will benefit from the fake clothing seized.”
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