GMP Credit

18 months since Operation Vulcan – but how successful has it been?

Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Vulcan in November 2022. The operation was set up in Cheetham Hill with a focus on clamping down on counterfeit goods and other crimes. 

The operation claims to have reduced crimes in the area by 50% since the launch of the operation and has closed around 200 counterfeit shops.

The team behind Operation Vulcan are aware that with the surge of crimes that’s been associated with the area for some time, they need to help rebuild Cheetham Hill as a more positive place to live.  

Cheetham Hill and Strangeways are said to account for nearly 50% of all counterfeit goods for the whole UK.

GMP targeting the area in a lockdown operation has had big ripple effects on the rest of the counterfeit goods network.  

Big changes for Cheetham Hill

DI Neil Blackwood, who heads up Vulcan Operation, said: “The removal of the crime gangs involved in counterfeiting all the other crime types have declined, leaving an area that can now develop and prosper. The area is safer, and more community-focused with legitimate business and long-term investment replacing the warren of unsafe backstreets.” 

DI Blackwood was confident that Cheetham Hill’s community has improved and benefited from the operation by “less intimidation and harassment of gang activity. They no longer have to suffer the rubbish and mess that was generated by the illegal trade that was taking place behind closed shutters.”

“Some local charities have benefited directly from the counterfeit goods as we have taken some of what is safe and overbranded (made it non-counterfeit) and then gifted to these charities.” 

The impacts have been huge in many ways

Lucy from Be You on Broughton Street, Cheetham Hill said: “With the reputation of Cheetham Hill it has been hard to have a creditable business as everyone just associates the area with counterfeit goods and it tarnishes businesses like Be You and trying to keep our business thriving is hard.

“People just associate this area as rife with crime and it can make having, particularly a clothing business hard to step away from that crowd.”