A major police operation has seized tens of millions worth of counterfeit and other illicit goods.

The Cheetham Hill seizure, the largest of its kind in Europe in nearly 20 years, was carried out as part of Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Vulcan and comes to a total value of £87million.

The 580 tonnes of goods included counterfeit clothes, drugs, illicit tobacco, Nitorous Oxide cannisters and counterfeit vapes, all hidden inside a storage unit of the outskirts of Cheetham Hill.

Detective Inspector Christian Julien, one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers said: “This latest seizure by Operation Vulcan elevates Greater Manchester Police onto the global stage, placing us in the top three worldwide for a single seizure of counterfeit items.

“I hope that our work so far has shown the true scale of the counterfeit trade in the UK, the majority of which was on our doorstep here in Manchester.

The Bolton News: The haul was one of the largest of its kind in EuropeThe haul was one of the largest of its kind in Europe (Image: GMP)

“It’s important to recognise the serious impact of sophisticated and large-scale counterfeit operations like this and I would like to take this opportunity to remind members of the public of its links to serious organised crime.

“It isn’t a bargain so please be under no illusions this type of crime is not victimless.”

Officers from across Greater Manchester Police were joined over the last two weeks by were joined by brand experts and Lighthouse Security, who repurpose the counterfeit items, to tackle their largest job to date.

Not only was this the largest seizure of counterfeit goods in UK history, but GMP believe it is one of the largest single seizures worldwide.

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DI Julien said: “Criminals are making vast amounts of money from this trade which is being funnelled into fuelling further criminality, exploitation, and misery not just in Manchester, but across the world.

“I’d like to thank each and every officer from across the force who came out to support the operation, and our partner agencies who have diligently contributed to the intelligence gathering and execution.

“At its heart, Operation Vulcan is a partnership effort, and everything we have achieved is down to the unrelenting efforts of our team and the unwavering support from partners.

“This may be our largest raid to date, but we must continue to build on these efforts to identify the criminal networks behind this activity whose only concern is making a profit, no matter what the cost is to the public.”