AN investigation into the sale of counterfeit goods in Benidorm’s Rincon de Loix market has resulted in the arrest of 11 people and the seizure of more than 1,000 items, worth nearly €33,500.
The investigation was triggered by complaints filed by representatives of several sportswear brands, who warned of the sale of the fake goods.
Calpe’s Guardia Civil initiated the investigation and found out that the counterfeit goods sellers, mainly of Sengalese nationality, had a surveillance network in the market meaning they were alerted of police presence and could hide the fake goods.
Guardia Civil officers later visited the market undercover, in plain clothes and surprised the sellers before they had time to hide the counterfeit goods.
Officers arrested eight men – six Sengalese nationals and two Spanish between 26 and 60 years old and three women 21, 29 and 52 years old as alleged perpetrators of crimes against industrial property.
They seized 1,084 items between handbags, wallets and watches made to look like those from designers such as Longchamp and Michael Kors.
The items had a market value of €33,455.
The investigation involved more than ten Guardia Civil officers and members of Calpe’s Citizen Security Unit.
The sale and distribution of counterfeit goods is an activity classified as a crime against industrial property in the last reform of the penal code and whose consequences translate into the annual loss of about €26.3 billion euros in income; equivalent to 9.7 per cent of sales in the sector (including losses in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors), resulting in the loss of 363,0000 jobs.
The European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), based in Alicante, works closely with the Guardia Civil in the fight against the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods in Spain.