Police close down over 2,500 counterfeit designer goods websites

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) says it has so far closed down over 2,500 websites selling counterfeit goods, since it was launched in September last year by City of London Police.

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The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) says it has so far closed down over 2,500 websites selling counterfeit goods, since it was launched in September last year by City of London Police.

PIPCU says it is working in collaboration with a number of well known brands, brand protection organisations and international website registries - including UK domain name organisation Nominet - as part of an ongoing operation.

The closed websites purported to sell well-known designer goods including UGG boots, GHD hair straighteners, Abercrombie, Hollister and Jack Wills clothing, Gucci products and Thomas Sabo jewellery.

However, online shoppers have been left short-changed as the items they received were poor quality counterfeits, or in some cases the items were never even delivered. The websites were estimated to be "generating tens of millions of pounds for organised criminal gangs", said the police.

Head of PIPCU, DCI Andy Fyfe, said: “This is evidence of our commitment to clamp down on intellectual property crime. Behind many of these websites lies an organised crime gang funnelling off the money spent by unsuspecting customers on what they think are quality products."

He said: “Consumers also need to be aware that by accessing websites like this they are running the risk of their personal details being compromised and being used for other fraudulent scams, as well as exposing their computer to malicious malware.”