UK police tackle Euro 2024 shirt counterfeiting

Eight people have been arrested and fake football shirts worth around £100,000 ($128,000) seized as police in the UK cracked down on counterfeiting during the Euro 2024 championship.

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police, working with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), seized the shorts in the build-up to the tournament and during the event itself, making seizures “across the country.”

“While a fake football shirt may seem like a harmless bargain, the proceeds from counterfeit goods can often fund other criminal activity such as money laundering, forced labour and drug operations, with counterfeiting now thought to be the second largest source of criminal income worldwide after illegal drugs,” said PIPCU in a statement.

Five people were arrested during raids at a shop and five residential addresses in Camden, north London. Around 6,000 counterfeit items, including £9,600 worth of Euro 2024 shirts, were seized. Those arrested have been released under investigation.

Raids at a shop and residential address in Haslemere, Surrey, resulted in shirts worth £50,000 being seized. A man was arrested and released under investigation.

In Sheffield, officers seized £25,000 worth of counterfeit product including football kits. A man was arrested and bailed pending further enquiries.

Finally, clothing worth £13,700 was also seized from a storage unit in Enfield, north London, during a warrant executed in connection to the sale of counterfeit football shirts on Facebook Marketplace. A man was arrested and received a caution, a condition of which was to take down the Facebook Marketplace seller profile.

“As fans show their support for their favourite teams at Euro 2024, criminal networks continue to exploit their loyalty by targeting the market with counterfeit kits,” commented Marcus Evans, deputy director of intelligence and law enforcement at the IPO.

“The trade in counterfeits has been estimated to cost over 80,000 jobs in the UK each year, and is strongly linked to other forms of serious crime – including the trade in illegal drugs, people smuggling and modern slavery.”

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