Operation Jasper extended its reach into Eire in June and begins operating in Scotland this July as officers from Trading Standards and the Police in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are joined by their Scottish and Irish equivalents in the fight against social media counterfeiting. The move is part of the latest phase of Operation Jasper, which was launched in May 2015 to tackle counterfeiting and piracy on social media.
In the latest phase of the operation, Trading Standards officers have carried out a further 17 raids arising from 48 on-going investigations, supported by other enforcement teams now including the Police Service Northern Ireland and the Garda, Ireland’s national police service. The raids were based on evidence provided by the National Markets Group, which coordinates Operation Jasper in partnership with the National Trading Standards eCrime Team and the Intellectual Property Office.
Officers seized thousands of items of counterfeit clothing, CDs, DVDs, footwear, watches, jewellery, handbags, purses, accessories, electrical products, cigarettes, and badges seized, along with the paraphernalia used to manufacture counterfeit goods. In addition, 1750 infringing images were reported to Facebook for removal by rights owners and their agents, 35 more cease and desist notices have been issued, and two warrants have resulted in substantial quantities of cannabis being found.
Since it began last year more than 80 local authorities have worked on Operation Jasper. This has seen:
- around 100 investigations launched, resulting from 59 separate warrants
- 9508 infringing images being removed from social platforms
- 217 warning notices issued along with nearly 100 cease and desist notices
Officers from the National Trading Standards eCrime Team have also worked with key social media channels to remove offending profiles.
Graham Mogg Chair of the National Markets Group and Intelligence Co-ordinator for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), said:
“Counterfeiting and piracy undermines our economy by threatening the innovation and creativity of British companies, stunting the development of new goods and services and in some cases injuring or killing British consumers. This is why the National Markets Group is determined to cross as many borders as needed to stamp out counterfeiting in both online and physical markets. Comprised of industry, Government and enforcement representatives, NMG members including Alliance Against IP Theft, Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), TM Eye, REACT (Europe), and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group are working hard to clean up counterfeiting and piracy on social media.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards said:
“Social media knows no boundaries, so extending this work throughout the England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and now into Eire shows how determined enforcement agencies are to extend their international reach against counterfeiting and piracy. We are working closely with other international law enforcement and consumer protection agencies to target the criminals behind these schemes, many of whom operate as organised crime groups across different countries.
“Whilst this landmark investigation is tracking down the culprits, I would also like to urge consumers to remain vigilant and report any suspected online scams to Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on: 03454 04 05 06.”
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for Intellectual Property, said:
"Intellectual property crime hurts businesses and consumers across the country. I am pleased to see that the hard work of the IPO and a wide range of enforcement agencies is paying off. Together we can turn the tide against IP criminals.
"Operation Jasper has shown that criminals and rogue traders can no longer hide behind online anonymity. The ongoing successful partnership between Government, enforcement agencies, and rights holders is having a major impact on those looking to profit from IP crime."
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case contact Mike Andrews 01609 534901 or 07807 083774. For more general enquiries regarding the National Trading Standards Board please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail email@example.com.
Notes to editors
National Trading Standards
National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
More information is available at: www.nationaltradingstandards.uk
National Trading Standards eCrime Team
Funded by the National Trading Standards Board, the National Trading Standards eCrime Team recognises that a secure and safe online environment that protects consumers and allows businesses to flourish is vital to the long term success of the UK economy.
The eCrime Team provides a national resource to support all local authority areas in England and Wales, tackling the increasing threat to businesses and consumers in relation to internet scams and rip-offs. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
More information is available at www.tradingstandardsecrime.org.uk.
Operation Jasper is coordinated by the National Markets Group in partnership with the National Trading Standards eCrime Team. The Operation is also supported by central government through the Intellectual Property Office
Previous press releases about Operation Jasper are available here:
-Landmark crackdown on social media counterfeiting and piracy launched, June 2015: http://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/landmark-crackdown-on-social-media-counterfeiting-and-piracy-launched/
-Minister hails counterfeiting crackdown on social media a success, December 2015: http://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/minister-hails-counterfeiting-crackdown-on-social-media-a-success/
Operation Jasper was recently mentioned in a parliamentary debate on unsafe and counterfeit electrical goods: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-06-28/debates/16062847000014/CounterfeitElectricalGoods
National Markets Group
The National Markets Group is a focus group comprising industry, government and enforcement representatives working in partnership to reduce the availability of counterfeit goods across physical and online markets. Established in 2008, The National Markets Group provides a co-ordinated, cross-sector approach to tackling the trade in counterfeit goods at markets and car boot fairs. It is a focus group consisting of industry, government and enforcement representatives working in partnership to reduce the availability of counterfeit goods in physical and on-line markets.
Members of the National Markets Group include:
Chartered Trading Standards Institute
Individual Trading Standards Officerss
Intellectual Property Office Intelligence Directorate
The Department of Work and Pensions
Individual Police Authorities
HM Revenue & Customs
National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA)
Organisations tackling the issue of illegal tobacco sales
Industry groups representing trademark and copyright holders (including the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, Alliance Against IP Theft, FACT, ACG, BPI)
The work of the National Markets Group falls into two strands:
1. Co-ordinated enforcement activity, coordinating intelligence and targeting markets that are identified as having serious problems with traders in counterfeit goods;
2. Real Deal initiative, which is a preventative campaign focused on a national markets charter, and which provides guidance, information and promotional support to market operators and trading standards to ensure