A new initiative has been set up to target criminals using self-storage facilities for counterfeit and other illicit goods. Such goods are often seized in self-storage facilities, and the scheme has been launched to assist enforcement authorities in recovering them before they enter the marketplace.
The Tick Box: Keep it Real Keep it Legal scheme is a joint project between the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), National Trading Standards (NTS), London Trading Standards (LTS) and the Self-Storage Association UK (SSAUK). In addition to preventing the fraudulent storage of illegal goods, it aims to help self-storage facility owners keep track of who is really using their premises.
IPO Chief Executive, Tim Moss, said: “Unsafe and illicit goods, such as counterfeits, create real social and environmental harms in our communities and criminals have used self-storage units as part of their activities.
“Self-storage providers signing up to the code of practice will now have absolute confidence they are doing everything possible to deter criminals who target them in this way, while reassuring legitimate customers that their belongings are in safe hands.”
Forty-five local and national self-storage providers have already signed up to the first phase of the code of practice and more than 1,200 self-storage facility staff have received additional training under the scheme, which will continue to be rolled out across the UK.
Targeted enforcement action has already disrupted criminal networks using self-storage facilities, resulting in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit items estimated to be worth millions of pounds.
SSAUK CEO, Rennie Schafer said: “The self-storage industry welcomes the opportunity to work with Trading Standards and local enforcement agencies to identify and deter criminals looking to use the industry for storage of unsafe and illicit goods.
NTS Chair, Lord Toby Harris, commented: “Trading standards officers are finding counterfeit goods in, or on route to, self-storage facilities. By supporting self-storage facilities to prevent the storage of illicit goods on their premises, we can help clamp down on the sale of counterfeit goods that continue to deceive consumers and undermine legitimate businesses.”