Sandwell tackles the illegal sale of knives and counterfeit goods
Published 2nd September 2021
An inspection by Sandwell Trading Standards supported by West Midlands Police uncovered large amounts of suspected counterfeit goods with an estimated retail value of around £1m at a Smethwick shop.
In addition, Project Guardian Task Force members conducted underage test purchases of knives in West Bromwich and Smethwick with 9 out of the 10 stores failing to challenge the age of the person completing the purchase. Educational visits to those shops followed with all 9 signing up to the Responsible Retailers Scheme which encourages retailers to challenge anyone who looks under 25 to prove their age so that illegal sales are not made to young people under the age of 18.
During the operation the Trading Standards team identified a large quantity of suspected counterfeit items in a shop in Smethwick. In total, 49 exhibit bags of items and 4 large rugs were seized. Items seized included tobacco, clothing, accessories and homeware. The items claimed to be from brands including Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and BMW. An initial rough estimate of the value of the goods based on the retail price of the genuine article is in excess of £1 million.
Due to the large volume of items seized, three Police cage vans and one car were needed to transport the goods.
Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said:
“Joint operations like this are vital to keep our communities as safe as possible. By tackling the illegal sale of knives to underage people, we can reduce access to knives, tackle crime and potentially save lives. Operations like this also show that we will not allow Sandwell residents to be conned into buying substandard, sham, counterfeit goods.”
Superintendent Phil Asquith, from Sandwell Police, said: “Nine out of 10 stores failing to check the photo ID of young people buying knives isn’t the result any of us want for Sandwell.
“Shop staff play a really important role in help us to stop knife crime. We’ve seen incidents where people go into shops in the heat of the moment, buy a knife and use it in a horrible act of violence.
“The good news is that all for those shops have learned a lesson and are now working in a more responsible way that’s helping to keep kids safe. We’ll be doing future visits and won’t hesitate to take tough legal action on those who don’t do the necessary checks.
“As this operation shows, we work closely with the council so people should keep reporting concerns about what shops sell, to trading standards.”