‘Arrogance cost them dear’: Colossal £10million counterfeit goods gang broken up by Manchester police

By Danielle Wainwright

A multi-million pound counterfeit conspiracy ring in fake designer items has been busted by Greater Manchester Police.

Fake-branded clothing, watches and shoes worth around £10million were all seized by police from a shop in Stretford.

Mahmood Shah, 44, Agha Khan, 27, Sarwari Dlague, 33, were sentenced to six years between them.

Three others were also sentenced on Friday for conspiracy to defraud, receiving either suspended sentences or community service – however two more men remain wanted by police.

Detective Constable Sue Barker, who led the investigation, said: “Counterfeiting on this scale requires serious organisation, established distribution channels and money. Judging by the swathes of boxes we seized that were stuffed with fake goods, it is clear this gang had set up a highly profitable criminal venture and were pocketing large sums of cash.

“However, their arrogance and mistaken belief they could act with impunity eventually cost them dear.”

The gang were responsible for importing counterfeit goods from places such as China to business premises known as The Late Shop on Greatstone Road, Stretford.

Police were able to strike after Mr Dlague and Mr Khan were arrested on 28 November 2011,  after they were seen to pick up a delivery of fake hair straighteners which was loaded into a van. The boxes were then unloaded at The Late Shop.

The Late Shop was raided by police and a laptop was recovered which proved the gang had set up a sophisticated arrangement with Chinese companies to import the counterfeit goods.

Cash of £30,000 was found, along with more than 350 boxes packed with counterfeit goods. Khan was arrested at the shop.

Evidence was seized that revealed counterfeit labels for 45 different brands of designer goods were then added to the items. Once they had been branded with the fake designer labels, they were then shipped onto another retail premises The One Shop on Bury New Road to be sold on to members of the public.

Fake Gucci handbags and watches, GHD hair straighteners, UGG boots, Tag Heuer watches, Tiffany and Cartier jewellery, Jimmy Choo handbags and D&G clothing were among the counterfeit goods seized.

Two other offenders – Qand Agha Sarwary and Sherin Agha Sarwary who are the brothers of Sarwari Dlague – are still outstanding and circulated as wanted.

Detective Paul Yates, who also led the investigation, said: “The cost of counterfeit goods for trademark owners, consumers and the UK economy is huge. The Home Office estimates the criminal gain from counterfeiting in the UK alone is worth £1.3billion every year.

“While it might seem like a victimless crime and that buying a knock-off watch over the Internet is harmless, you are actually putting legitimate businesses at risk and as a consequence, putting people’s jobs on the line.”

The sentences handed down by Minshull Street Crown Court; include a three year jail term for Dlague, of Ballater Walk, Cheetham Hill, and 12 months for Khan of the same address and two years for Shah of Hilton Crescent, Prestwich.

Taiba Parsa, 26, of Drake Street, Rochdale, and Ayesha Sarwary, 30, of Alexandra Road, Manchester, were both given community service.

Abdul Jalil, 34, of Duffield Court, Brannon Close, was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months for conspiracy to defraud.

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