26/11/2013 - Permalink

Court orders counterfeiter to pay in excess of £25,000

Related topics: Community

Shropshire Council’s public protection service is warning traders of the stark consequences of dealing in counterfeit or fake goods. 

The warning follows the successful Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 confiscation order made by Shrewsbury Crown Court on 23 November 2013 for £20,000 against Mark Neville Mountford, aged 47, from Shifnal.  The Court also ordered Mountford to pay the total costs incurred by the council in bringing the prosecution against him; this was a further £5,422. 

The Court declared that Mountford had benefited to the sum of nearly £50,000 from his particular criminal conduct, and that £20,000 was the amount of assets available for confiscation.   

Mountford will now have to pay the £20,000 in full within the next six months, or face serving a default prison sentence of up to six months.  He has 12 months to repay the council’s costs. 

Confiscation proceedings were instituted by the council following the successful prosecution of Mountford earlier this year for 13 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994; this resulted in him being sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work.  

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s public protection service manager for safer and stronger communities, said:

“This is the first occasion that Shropshire Council has used the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate the assets of a trader who has been supplying illegal goods, and I am very pleased with the outcome of this case.  Our officer in charge worked closely with an accredited financial investigator to ensure we followed the correct procedures throughout, and ultimately secured the confiscation order.  The result overall, taking into account the costs awarded, means that Mountford must now pay in excess of £25,000, in addition to undertaking 120 hours of unpaid work.” 

Frances Darling added:

“The Proceeds of Crime Act is an effective tool when tackling crime and the consequences for defendants can be significant; accordingly, the decision to institute confiscation proceedings in this case was not taken lightly.  However, it is important that we get the message out that supplying counterfeit goods is not an acceptable trading activity in Shropshire.  The confiscation order sends a powerful message to anyone involved, or considering getting involved, in criminal activity that crime really does not pay.  Individuals must realise that it is not only big-time drug dealers and fraudsters that face being stripped of their assets and we will use the Proceeds of Crime Act, where it is appropriate to do so, to tackle consumer-related crime in order to protect our legitimate businesses and communities.”  

Mountford ran an online business producing and selling illegal, counterfeit copies of film and computer game posters.  Public protection officers were made aware of his business by a legitimate, authorised producer of film posters.  Officers made test purchases from Mountford and executed an entry warrant at his home in May 2012, where they found a collection of fake film posters and equipment set up to mass produce posters bearing the trade marks of major film studios.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, commented:

“It is the responsibility of people who wish to trade in Shropshire to do so legitimately.  Where they fail to do this and their trading activities potentially affect the local economy, the health and well-being of individuals, the safety of communities or the environment, they can expect the council to investigate the matter and, where appropriate, to prosecute and utilise enforcement tools such as those laid down in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

“With Christmas around the corner, I would ask consumers to seriously think twice about purchasing counterfeit goods.  Whilst they may appear to be a cheap alternative when buying gifts for family and friends they are, by their very nature, inferior products, often unsafe, and may ultimately ruin your festive spirit.”

Shropshire Council encourages businesses to contact its public protection service on 0345 678 9000 if they have any suspicions that offences may be being committed.  Information can be given anonymously, and will always be treated in line with the council’s information governance policies.  Consumers should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

Business advice may be obtained from public protection’s business support and locality working team on 0345 678 9000.