A STING operation seized £10,000 worth of fake goods at a Bank Holiday market.
Three men were arrested on suspicion of possessing fake goods, but more than a dozen ran off when the market was raided by 24 officers from Cheshire Trading Standards, Cheshire Police and Customs and Excise.
A total of 3,000 DVDs were recovered from six stalls. Among them were Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, released in UK cinemas only last Friday.
Traders boasted to undercover officers that they have already obtained grainy copies of the latest Star Wars film, and will get better copies more than a week before the world premiere.
Sgt Peter Minghella said: 'Car boot sales are becoming increasingly popular for criminals.
'Counterfeit goods such as DVDs, CDs, tobacco and alcohol are available at these sales and it's this type of thing we are committed to clamping down on.'
'The message is clear - people who sell counterfeit goods are not welcome.'
Covert cameras and observation tactics were used at the holiday event.
Trading Standards officers made test purchases and support from police officers enabled arrests and seizures to be made.
Cheshire Trading Standards Officer Keith Fishwick said: 'It was supposed to be a customs and excise raid on imported tobacco, but in the end there wasn't any and we got these DVDs.
He said that the public perception of counterfeit DVDs as being harmless is not backed up by reality.
'When people are paying money to counterfeit goods traders, they are giving money to very well organised criminals,' he said.
'The main players hardly ever get caught, through them the money is going towards things like drug crime, burglary and car crime. We see this in the criminal records of people we pick up.'
* A 22-year-old man from Stockport, a 47-year-old man from Wrexham and a 26-year-old from St Helen's were arrested for possession of goods with a false trademark for sale or hire.
They have all been granted police bail. email@example.com