Fake World Cup shirts worth £500,000 seized in police raids

Police have seized counterfeit England football shirts worth an estimated £500,000 during raids in Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, and Northampton.

Six people were arrested by officers from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit at the City of London force, the national lead for fraud, supported by the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

In total, four tonnes of England jerseys and FIFA World Cup badges were seized, along with £12,000 in cash.

The raids were part of a campaign to target criminals aiming to profit from counterfeiting ahead of the World Cup, which can prove very lucrative.

The kit that's been seized include false England home and away shirts, with the official Nike versions selling online for around £60 each.

But while some supporters might not realise they're buying a counterfeit, others might be tempted to buy what could be a close copy of the real thing and save money during a cost of living crisis.

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Detective Sergeant Matthew Hussey, from City of London Police, said: "The increased demand for merchandise from fans who want to show support for their team makes major sporting events like the World Cup a lucrative opportunity for counterfeiters.

"We regularly see links between the counterfeit goods trade and organised criminal groups… and enables them to fund serious offences such as drugs trafficking and money laundering."

The six people arrested for offences related to the distribution and sale of counterfeit goods have been released under investigation.