The Sun infiltrated Counterfeit City to expose the underground world of fake designer goods that denies the country millions in taxes and puts dangerous goods on the streets.Shifty sellers stand outside shuttered shops with no goods on display in the shadow of Strangeways prison, on the lookout for customers — or cops.Only those vetted and trusted are allowed in. Our man was among them after slowly gaining the trust of the Khan brothers over months.The pair use their phones to send trusted customers a constant stream of their forgeries on Whatsapp as new designs come in.The brothers operate from a commercial building split into a warren of separate operations flogging fake luxury brands.Posing as a dodgy market trader looking for a new supplier, our man was led behind the locked doors and into their secret store.Hundreds of hooky handbags bearing the logos of famous brands such as Chanel, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, YSL and Michael Kors lined the walls.Cabinets displayed gold “Rolexes” and “diamond” watches by big-name brands including Cartier, Tag Heuer and Michael Kors.
Each would sell for hundreds or even thousands if real, but these illegal knock-offs go for a few quid, depriving the real brands of business and the UK of taxes.Our man asked if the items were good enough quality to pass for the real thing.Shahbad, a trained chef, nodded and said many husbands bought them for their wives as Christmas gifts, knowing they would be taken as genuine.Our undercover man pointed to a £14 Louis Vuitton rip-off and asked how much the real one would be.
Shahbad said with a grin: “Thousands. But you put this one next to the original and you tell me [which is which]. Everything’s the same.”Boasting that their imports from China were the best quality fakes around, he added: “I can get you the rubbish quality as well if you want me to. I can get you the cheapest bag but people won’t go for that.“With my stuff I can say, ‘Look it’s a little bit expensive but it’s good stuff’.“If I wanted to fill the shop with cheap stuff, I have enough space to put it but I don’t want to.” He told of one female trader he supplied in Wales who bought 50 bags a week and then sold them via Facebook.Another bought 40 to 50 fake Michael Kors gold watches a week.Shahbad told how he was now stocking up with the latest designer lines for Christmas.But the shutters are likely to come down for good on this illegal operation.