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Scotland is cracking down on criminals using self storage facilities for illicit activities

Scotland is introducing the Tick Box Scheme to reduce the appeal of self storage facilities to criminals who deal in counterfeit and other illicit 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 has the support of the principal self storage industry trade association, the Self Storage Association UK (SSAUK).

In recent years, enforcement actions targeted on 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, also disrupting criminal networks.

Scottish Trading Standards officers are currently carrying out coordinated compliance inspections of facilities throughout the country. 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 which operate self storage facilities to be sure of who is really 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 roll out of the Tick Box scheme in Scotland will help enforcement authorities to, 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 which need to take further steps to meet the requirements will be advised and assisted in this 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.

One such successful audit was recently carried out at Kangaroo Self Storage in Dundee. The business also has premises in Glasgow and Edinburgh and across the north of England.

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 effective partnership between self-storage providers, government, and local enforcement and complements our comprehensive approach to disrupting IP crime.

“Trade in counterfeits and other illicit goods creates real social and environmental harms, and criminals are known to use self-storage units as part of their activities. By signing up to the code of practice, self storage providers can help keep communities safe 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, Self Storage Association said:

“We are pleased to see the roll-out of the Tick Box scheme in Scotland and that another SSA UK member, Kangaroo Self Storage, is supporting the campaign.

“Working together we can deter criminals from seeing self storage as a gateway to facilitate the storage of illicit goods and help our members to concentrate on what they do best – providing great service to genuine customers.”

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 working with the IPO and local authority Trading Standards to coordinate  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.”

Chris Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, Kangaroo Self Storage said:

“Kangaroo Self Storage is very 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 and illicit goods. We recognise the damage that the trade in many of these goods can cause to the communities that businesses like ours serve. The Tick Box scheme is an excellent initiative that recognises the many measures that storage operators take to ensure that only appropriate items are stored and that customers’ goods and belongings are secure.”

 Notes to editors

 For press queries and further details on this project, email Ken Daly, SCOTSS Coordinator at coordinator@scotss.org.uk  or call 07720538349

The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) represents the 31 local authority Trading Standards services in Scotland. SCOTSS was established in 1996 and helps support and coordinate the activities of Scotland local authority trading standards teams. It is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC047951 and works closely with other governmental and regulatory organisations, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, the Office of Product Safety and Standards, Trading Standards Scotland, and the Scottish Government.

Kangaroo Self Storage has storage centres across Scotland and the North West of England.  The storage company provides a range of storage units and drive up units for the domestic, commercial and student markets.  In Widnes and Preston the company operates as Smart Storage.

The following link gives the UK branches https://www.kangarooselfstorage.co.uk/about-us

Channel website: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/

Original article link: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/news-room/2023/scotland-is-cracking-down-on-criminals-using-self-storage-facilities-for-illicit-activities/

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