Crimestoppers cracks down on counterfeiting in the Highlands

Scotland Crimestoppers launched a campaign this week in the Highlands to tackle counterfeiting and raise awareness of the more serious links it has to organised crime.

Crimestoppers joined forces with other agencies and services at a Highland launch event in the Eastgate Centre, Inverness.

With Christmas approaching and the effects of the last recession still hitting hard, there is often a greater temptation to buy fake goods, however few understand the consequences and serious implications behind counterfeiting.

In a recent survey conducted by Scotland Crimestoppers thirty per cent of people questioned said they didn’t know that buying fake goods might fund serious organised crime.  Ninety one per cent said they wouldn’t buy a fake good if they knew it would fund criminals or criminal activity.  Eighteen per cent of those questioned admitted that they had bought fake goods in the past.

Jim Ferguson, Scotland Crimestoppers Highlands and Island Chairman said: “Christmas is a time when many are trying to find ways to reduce costs. I would urge the public not to be tempted to buy often cheaper fake goods. The consequences are far wider than the simple transaction. It can fund serious crimes such as human trafficking and drug crime which can harm our community.

“Anyone with information about counterfeiting should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the online anonymous form on http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/. With the publics help we can make big steps in cracking down on this type of crime across Scotland.

Gordon Robb, Highland Council’s Trading Standards Manager said: “We are also urging all consumers to be careful this Christmas, especially when shopping for gifts online. Don’t rush into buying online especially if you are new to using the internet. Take the time to read the advice available online from organisations such as Consumer Direct (see www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/before_you_buy/online-shopping/tips): always use whatever additional security facilities your bank or credit card provider makes available to you for carrying out online transactions and remember if it looks too good to be true it probably either is and the goods may never arrive or they could even be fake.”

Supt Ian Arnott, Northern Constabulary's East Divisional Commander based in Inverness said:  "We are grateful for the support of Crimestoppers in highlighting this issue. Just because the Highlands and Islands have a low rate of crime it does not mean we can be complacent to the possibility of counterfeit goods coming into this area. The people who sell fake goods are often linked to other types of crime such as the supply of illegal drugs which blight our communities. I would urge anyone with information about people selling fake goods to pass this on to Crimestoppers so we can take action."

The campaign is being run with the support of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), Home Office, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the Bank of England, Film Distributors Association (FDA) and Pentland.

A dedicated mircrosite - http://www.fakesfundcrime.org.uk/ has been produced which has information on each strand of the campaign and information about the serious organised crime links, harmful affects, fraudulent activity and videos.

-Ends-

22 Nov 2010
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