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Police seize fake iPhones in $750,000 haul of counterfeit items

Fake Apple items seized in Northern Ireland

Fake iPhones, AirPods and iPhone cases were among counterfeit goods seized in police raids in Northern Ireland.

It turns out that counterfeiting Apple devices is not confined to the US. On Thursday 28 March, 2024, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) seized over 20,000 counterfeit devices in two related raids across Belfast and 30 miles away in Portadown.

According to BBC News, PSNI spokesperson Detective Sergeant Mason did not reveal what proportion of the goods seized were copies of Apple products. The selection of items seen in police photographs appear to be predominantly Apple fakes, though.

PSNI did say that items included counterfeit iPhones, AirPods, and unspecified smartwatches, cellphones, and chargers.

"Collectively the products represent an estimated brand loss of 600,000 to Apple and other high street brands," said DS Mason. The officer cautioned that criminals will "attempt to copy anything," and said that such fake goods often fund organized crime.

A 24-year-old man was arrested after the Portadown raid, but reportedly so far on suspicion of immigration offences, rather than necessarily the counterfeiting.

DS Mason said that the Belfast and Portadown raids followed ones in England's East Midlands region. Separately, a repair firm in that area was fined almost $150,000 in 2021, for selling counterfeit Apple chargers.