A "SIGNIFICANT" quantity of suspected counterfeit watches were seized during an operation in Darlington.

Trading standards officers swooped on TIC Watches, in Post House Wynd on Wednesday.

It was part of a multi-agency operation to raid business and residential premises in Darlington and Sunderland as part of a large-scale investigation into the import and sale of suspected counterfeit watches.

As a result of a tip-off, trading standards officers launched an investigation into the activities of TIC Trading Limited, trading as TIC Watches in Post House Wynd and online.

The complex investigation led to raids at the properties on Wednesday involving the Darlington Borough Council’s trading standards, civic enforcement and licensing officers, Durham Police and its financial investigators, National Trading Standards E-Crime Team, North East Regional Special Operations Unit, the National Crime Agency and brand representatives.

A significant quantity of suspected counterfeit watches and other material were seized during the raids and the investigation is ongoing, the council said.

Trading standards officers, who are part of the council’s Community Safety Team, have advised anyone who suspects that a watch they may have purchased from the trader is counterfeit to report their concerns to the Citizens Advice Consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer.

Anyone with information which can assist trading standards, is asked to email tradingstandards@darlington.gov.uk or use the online reporting form (anonymously) which is available at www.darlington.gov.uk/ts-report-it