REPEATED raids on Wellesbourne Market are a waste of public money, according to its fed-up manager.
Police and Trading Standards officers have targeted the long-running airfield market over several years, seizing counterfeit goods worth millions of pounds.
But market manager Gary Platt believes two raids in just 15 days during the past month “is not conducive, nor proportionate” to the amount of fake items seized.
Goods with a street value of £155,000 were seized in the first swoop on March 29, followed by an undisclosed value in a police-led operation on April 12.
Speaking to the Observer, Mr Platt, said: “This is a ridiculous waste of public money at a time when the citizens of Warwickshire are facing even further reductions in front line policing.
“In these two raids I have calculated that in excess of 300 hours of frontline policing have been lost to the Warwickshire public.
“My staff and I do as much as we can to discourage any trader who brings counterfeit goods to Wellesbourne Market. If these goods are being sold, we insist the items are removed immediately.”
Warwickshire Police hit back, claiming the raids were in the best interests of both market customers and legitimate traders.
Insp Daf Goddard said: “The recent activities have resulted in goods being seized to the value of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“This demonstrates that the activities of police and trading standards have had a positive impact but also highlights that certain unscrupulous traders persist in offering illegal goods for sale.
“The policing operation was supported heavily by the special constabulary and has not been detrimental to daily policing activities.”
Simon Cripwell, Trading Standards Officer at Warwickshire County Council also backed the raids.
He said: “Our message to market owners is to continue to be vigilant and help prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on Warwickshire markets.
“The sale of counterfeit goods harms legitimate traders and exposes consumers to potentially unsafe products.”
Mr Platt is now seeking an urgent meeting with Ron Ball, Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, and Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi, to raise his concerns.