It used to be the home of arcade gaming in the UK. Now it's just the home of hooky Hello Kitty tat. Counterfeit goods worth more than £500,000 have been seized by police from 10 stores in and around London's Trocadero today.
The raids, carried out by Westminster City Council alongside Trading Standards, UK border agency staff and the police force was in response to complaints from shoppers citing extortionate prices for shoddy items, clearly not up to the standards that licensed goods should be. From dodgy Minions t-shirts to Hello Kitty...well...everything, there were even knock-off condoms using Starbucks branding.
“Counterfeiting is often thought of as a victimless crime but it can have devastating effects on local traders who are trying to legitimately sell goods," said Sergeant Paul Clooney, from Westminster police.
“Customers end up buying items which are often of a poor and sometimes dangerous standard."
For any gamers that grew up in London during the 90s, the raids represent just the latest chapter in the sad, slow decline of the Trocadero. Situated by London's buzzing Piccadilly Circus and operating since 1896, the Trocadero was THE place to play arcade games from the mid 80s through to the late 90s. Rechristened Segaworld in 1996, the Trocadero's visitor numbers steadily declined as home consoles became more and more advanced. What was once Segaworld is now known as "Funland" – home to the cheap tat retailers that were targeted in the raids.
As for the future, the Trocadero is to be redeveloped into a "pod" hotel and a new TK Maxx store. For anyone that remembers popping 10p pieces into the Troc's life-size Turbo Outrun Ferrari cabinet, it's a mighty shame.
Image Credit: Wikipedia