The Self Storage Association of the United Kingdom (SSA-UK) has partnered with government and law-enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce the amount of counterfeit and illicit goods stored inside self-storage units by tenants. The campaign includes a code of practice to help facility operators identify illegal goods and suspicious individuals, and help officers seize goods before they enter the marketplace, according to a press release. It’s being promoted with the verbiage “The Tick Box: Keep It Real. Keep It Legal.”
As part of the effort, SSA-UK has partnered with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the U.K. government entity responsible for intellectual-property rights including copyrights, designs, patents and trademarks. The national and London Trading Standards groups, which ensure consumers are protected from unfair trading, are also involved.
Self-storage operators can participate in the program for free, receiving a Tick Box logo and code of practice for display. The materials are designed to discourage criminals and give confidence to law-abiding tenants, demonstrating the operator’s commitment to keep their facility and community safe. In addition, all participants will ask their customers to agree to the program standards when they sign their lease agreement.
Trading officials are also advising self-storage operators on their legal responsibilities in relation to copyright, product-safety infringement and trademark, and providing the appropriate training on regulatory requirements, according to the Tick Box website.
“Unsafe and illicit goods, such as counterfeits, create real social and environmental harms in our communities, and criminals have used self-storage units as part of their activities,” said Tim Moss, CEO of IPO. “Self-storage providers signing up to the code of practice will now have absolute confidence [that] they are doing everything possible to deter criminals who target them in this way, while reassuring legitimate customers that their belongings are in safe hands.”
Thus far, 45 U.K. self-storage companies representing a total of 343 facilities have signed up to participate in phase one. More than 1,200 facility employees have received training. Targeted enforcement action related to the effort “has resulted in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit items” estimated to be worth millions of pounds, the release stated. The campaign will continue to be rolled out nationwide, officials said.
“The self-storage industry welcomes the opportunity to work with Trading Standards and local enforcement agencies to identify and deter criminals looking to use the industry for storage of unsafe and illicit goods,” said Rennie Schafer, CEO of the SSA-UK. “Many of these goods can cause real damage to the local communities that the self-storage businesses are part of. As an industry, we want to do all we can to eliminate such activity from our stores and the community as a whole.”
Established in 1995, the SSA-UK is the principal trade association representing self-storage operators and suppliers in the U.K. It has approximately 440 members.
Intellectual Property Office, Cracking Down on Criminals Who Target Self-Storage Industry
The Tick Box, Website