The harsh sound of grinding metal pierces the early morning air on Manchester's "Counterfeit Street".

Orange sparks fly as police officers cut through a reinforced steel door with an angle grinder.

After gaining entry to the building, they climb a narrow staircase where they are faced by another near-impenetrable door.

This time a battering ram is used, and officers eventually rush into the fortified premises.

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Inside, it's a maze of windowless rooms and secret doors.

Each room of the building, off Lockett Street in Cheetham Hill, is filled with suspected counterfeit goods.

It's one of many similar set-ups in the area surrounding Strangeways Prison, which has become notorious for its fake designer gear sold at a fraction of the price of the real thing.

Police officers use an angle grider to attempt to cut through a door in Manchester's "Counterfeit Street"

Outside, a huge lorry parks up ready to transport a million pounds worth of goods, including clothes, bags, perfume and jewellery, to a site where they will eventually be incinerated.

The raid is the tenth carried out by police around this stretch of Bury New Road - between the city centre and Broughton - over the last week.

The large-scale operation involving Greater Manchester Police and colleagues from North West Regional Crime Unit and the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit aims to crackdown on the sale of counterfeit goods and illicit prescription drugs in the area.

Police raided two properties off Bury New Road, Cheetham Hill, on Thursday morning

The joint action between the three forces has seen more than £3 million pounds worth of counterfeit goods seized and a number of people arrested over the last seven days.

Six men, aged between 36 and 61, have been arrested and released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Suspected counterfeit goods inside one of the raided properties

Neighbourhood Inspector William Jennings-Wharton, of GMP's Cheetham Neighbourhood team, said: "This is all part of our continued work to tackle organised crime taking place in Cheetham Hill and I want to reassure the local community that we are listening to their concerns and this week's action is all part of our continued crackdown.

"Counterfeit goods and drug dealing will not be tolerated and all of these raids - which are a result of months of hard work - are a huge step in really driving a wedge in organised crime in the area.

"Counterfeit goods are not a victimless crime - though these desired items may look good and are cheap, they are funding a wider picture that involves money laundering, organised crime and cheap labour.

A police officer analyses goods inside the property off Bury New Road in Cheetham Hill

"The profits from such businesses can be used to fund other serious crime, and often with that comes violence which can have a devastating ripple effect on communities and nearby legitimate businesses."

Speaking to the M.E.N., Inspector Jennings-Wharton described Cheetham Hill as a 'hive of activity' with regards to the sale of counterfeit goods and described the situation there as a 'vicious circle'.

"You have people coming down here to buy this stuff, so there is a demand," he said.

"Because of the footfall the drug dealers come and that naturally brings the criminality.

Suspected counterfeit goods found inside one of the properties

"There is a genuine community here and some businesses are complaining about this stuff.

"We need to support them, the genuine hard-working people are almost pushed out by counterfeit business.

"These people selling counterfeit goods, we want to stop them."

Inspector Jennings-Wharton said he hoped to soon launch a campaign to raise awareness among members of the public regarding the sale of counterfeit goods.

A sign inside the premises police raided this morning

"We hit a property down here last week and there were people from Newcastle and Liverpool who had come down to do their Christmas shopping," he added.

"There's a lot more that sits behind somebody coming down just to buy a cheap Christmas present. You're funding wider criminality.

"The work doesn't stop here - we have always taken action in the area and will continue to do so - especially in the run up to Christmas.

A million pound worth of suspected counterfeit goods were seized by police

"We'll be continuing to work closely with our partners including Manchester City Council who order closures on such illicit businesses and City of London police - but I would urge the public to continue to come forward to us with any information that may assist.

"Anyone with information should report it online or by using the LiveChat facility at www.gmp.police.uk or by calling 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Detective Chief Inspector, Suzanne Ferris, of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), said: “This operation will have severely disrupted organised crime groups linked to counterfeit goods. We believe the thousands of goods seized would have supplied gangs in Cheetham Hill, selling fake goods across the country this Christmas.

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“Buying and selling counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime. As well as damaging legitimate businesses, it helps to fund organised crime, and with that often comes violence. This week showed the effectiveness of partnership working and I thank Greater Manchester Police, and our other partners involved, for all their help.”

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council added: “Counterfeit crime runs far deeper than just the sale of knock-off coats and handbags. There are deep links to other criminal enterprises and the sale of fake goods only puts money in the hands of criminals.

“We remain committed to tackling this practice at the source and will continue to work with our partners in the police to secure prosecution against perpetrators, and get fake goods off our streets.”