HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds worth of fake Lacoste trainers have been discovered by police.

Around 6,500 pairs of counterfeit "Swerv" and "Sento" trainers have been found in boxes on 22 pallets at a warehouse unit in the Lostock Industrial Estate, De Havilland Way, Horwich.

If the haul of bogus footware had been allowed to flood the markets of Bolton it could have cost the legitimate manufacturer around £390,000, as each pair generally retails at £60 each.

The consignment was discovered by police in Bolton on Tuesday morning.

Pentland Brands Plc, which owns a number of fashion brands such as Speedo and Berghaus, is the worldwide licensee of Lacoste footware.

The company has confirmed that the footware is bogus and is currently working with police to find out who is responsible for bringing the goods into the area.

Michael Ball, security manager at Pentland Brands, said: "They are counterfeit. Many of these types of trainers end up being sold on eBbay and it is a continual problem for the various luxury brand industries."

He said that the two designs of trainers in question were currently very popular on the black market and that they were seizing them all over Europe.

"We are arranging for this batch of shoes to be transferred to one of our warehouses in the North-west and they will be destroyed once legal proceedings are completed," said Mr Ball.

"We are raiding factories on a regular basis in China, in a very large province called Fujian, where there are a lot of illegal factories making counterfeit goods. Last year alone we raided 140 factories in relation to a number of our brands. We are trying to eliminate the problem at the cause," Mr Ball said.

He added: "This is a very significant find by the police in Bolton and we are very grateful to them for their excellent work."

Detective Constable Ian Wilson, from Bolton CID, said: "Inquiries are ongoing relating to the importation and distribution of the goods. We would appeal for people to come forward if they are offered goods likes this from an unlicensed source or outlet."

A 40-year-old man from Bury has been arrested in connection with the incident and released on bail untul June 19.

Anyone with information about this incident can call Bolton CID on 0161 856 5740, or Bolton Trading Standards on 01204 336593.