Three arrests in counterfeit car paint investigation

£M PPS imageThree men have been arrested in the UK on suspicion of involvement in supplying counterfeit versions of 3M brand car paint.

The men were detained after raids at premises in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and Gwent in South Wales uncovered more than 2,500 boxes of suspected counterfeit products, worth around £100,000, including what appeared to be knock-offs of 3M's PPS Paint Preparation System.

Officers from the City of London's recently-formed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) arrested the men on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud and trademark offences.

PPS is thought to be a market leader among automotive paint products, and the investigation was prompted by reports of quality and technical problems with the range from body shops and other users.

The company has set up a help line to deal with dealers who are concerned about the authenticity of PPS products - for example if they have bought paint from sources other than 3M - and will make any information received available to PIPCU to help track down the supply chain for the counterfeit material.

Steve Hemmings, business director for 3M's Industrial Business Group, said:  "We take the quality of our products and the integrity of our supply chain very seriously." 

"We will provide every assistance to the City of London Police as they investigate this matter."

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