News item

Three arrested in raids by City of London police unit investigating fake car paint products

Detectives from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have arrested three men in dawn raids as part of an ongoing investigation into counterfeit car paint application systems.

Officers from the City of London Police unit, supported by Thames Valley Police and Gwent Police, raided residential and business properties across Oxfordshire and South Wales believed to be connected in supplying counterfeit versions of the industry-leading 3M™ PPS™ Paint Preparation System.

Three men, 60, 44, 33 were arrested at their homes in Banbury and Gwent on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud and trademark offences.

Computer equipment, documentation and over 200 boxes of suspected counterfeit products were seized from the residential and commercial properties in Oxfordshire and South Wales.
The three men were taken to local police stations for questioning and later released on bail.

The operation follows months of investigation by PIPCU into fake car paint products after 3M™ began receiving reports of possible quality problems with its PPS™ products. Upon examination, the ‘defective’ products proved to be counterfeit copies.

PIPCU’s Detective Inspector Rob Stirling said, “Today’s operation highlights the wide remit of intellectual property crime PIPCU is tackling.

“Whether it is physical goods or online digital content, our unit is dedicated to protecting businesses and industries across the UK that put money, effort and time into creating legitimate, high quality products."

Steve Hemmings, Business Director for 3M's Industrial Business Group, says: "We take the quality of our products and the integrity of our supply chain very seriously. We will provide every assistance to the City of London Police as they investigate this matter.

“3M continually innovates to ensure its customers benefit from top quality products that help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their operations. Globally, we invested some $1.7 billion in R&D in 2013 and we work hard protect our intellectual property to ensure customers can be confident in the integrity of our products.”

PIPCU is a specialist police unit launched in September 2013 and initially funded by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The unit is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, the National Policing Lead for Fraud.

Distributors who have purchased supplies of the 3M™ Paint Preparation System from sources other than directly from 3M or its authorised distributors and have concerns about the potential authenticity of the product are being advised to call the 3M Customer Interaction Team (CIT) on 08456 039714. 

Notes to editor: 
Distributors who have purchased supplies of the 3M™ Paint Preparation System from sources other than directly from 3M and have concerns about the potential authenticity of the product are being advised to call the 3M Customer Interaction Team (CIT) on 08456 039714. Callers will be advised that any information supplied will be shared with PIPCU in order to assist their investigations into the possible criminal supply chain. 

Bodyshop customers experiencing technical issues with their 3M™ PPS™ products are also being advised to contact the CIT. Non-technical issues should be referred to the distributor from whom they purchased the product in the first instance. 
  
DATE: 24 Juune 2014