Trading Standards Scotland Rolls Out Scheme to Target Criminals Dealing in Counterfeit Goods
Trading Standards Services across Scotland have teamed up with colleagues in England and Wales and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to launch a new initiative aiming to reduce the appeal of self-storage facilities to criminals who deal in counterfeit and other illicit goods.
The scheme ‘The Tick Box: Keep it Real Keep it Legal’ code of practice also has the support of the principal self-storage industry trade association, the Self Storage Association (SSA UK).
In Scotland, Kangaroo Self Storage is one of the first self-storage companies to qualify for the scheme after a successful audit. The award will mean that all of the storage centres in the UK that are operated by Kangaroo Self Storage qualify for the scheme.
Chris Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, Kangaroo Self Storage, said: “Kangaroo Self Storage is pleased to work with local Trading Standards in both Scotland and England and sign up to the Tick Box Scheme. The scheme and code of practice will help us and others in the sector assist Trading Standards and other enforcement agencies to identify and deter criminals looking to store unsafe or illicit goods. The Tick Box scheme is an excellent initiative that recognises the many measures storage operators take to ensure that only appropriate items are stored and that customers’ goods and belongings are secure.”
In recent years, enforcement actions targeted self-storage facilities by Trading Standards in England and Wales and partner agencies, including the police, have resulted in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit items estimated to be worth millions of pounds.
Scottish Trading Standards officers are currently conducting coordinated compliance inspections of self storage facilities. During these inspections, the facility operators will be advised of the Tick Box Scheme and what they need to do to meet its requirements.
The code sets out the procedures designed to prevent the storage of counterfeit and other illicit or unsafe goods by rogue traders and criminal gangs. It also helps the businesses operating self-storage facilities to be sure who is using their premises and for what purpose. Counterfeit goods have been seized from units rented within self-storage facilities in other parts of the UK. The rollout of the Tick Box Scheme in Scotland will help enforcement authorities, with the help of self-storage facility operators, recover the goods before they enter the marketplace, and also identify the individuals behind the crimes.
To join the scheme, a business is audited by their local authority Trading Standards against the terms of the Tick Box code of practice. Businesses that need to take further steps to meet the requirements will be advised and assisted by Trading Standards. Those which meet the requirements of the scheme are provided with the ‘Tick Box’ logo, and posters are displayed within the premises. These act as both an assurance to legitimate customers and a deterrent to anyone considering attempting to store illicit goods or use the facility for any criminal purpose.
The Intellectual Property Office’s Deputy Director of IP Enforcement, Matt Cope, said: “I am delighted that the code of practice is being introduced in Scotland by Trading Standards Services. This builds on the work in England and Wales delivered through an effective partnership between self-storage providers, government and local enforcement, complementing our comprehensive approach to disrupting IP crime.
“Unsafe and illicit goods, such as counterfeits, create real social and environmental harms, and criminals are known to have used self-storage units as part of their activities. By signing up to the code of practice, self-storage providers can help keep communities safer by sending a clear signal to deter criminals who target them while reassuring legitimate customers that they can use their facilities with confidence.”
Helen Bourke, Operations Director at the Self Storage Association, said: “We are pleased to see the rollout of the Tick Box Scheme in Scotland and that another SSA UK member, Kangaroo Self Storage, is supporting the campaign.”
David MacKenzie, Chair of SCOTSS (the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland, said: “The potential for self storage facilities to be used for illicit and illegal purposes is obvious, and that is why SCOTSS is coordinating inspection visits across the country. Where illegal activities are identified, enforcement action may be necessary, and we will also work with other enforcement agencies, including Police Scotland, where appropriate.
“But our main aim is to support self-storage facilities to prevent the storage of illicit goods on their premises. We encourage all responsible self-storage providers to sign up to the Tick Box scheme - it’s free to join, easy to implement and will provide peace of mind to facility owners about what is being stored on their premises.”