27/02/2024 - Permalink

Stoke-on-Tern pair imprisoned for sale of counterfeit goods

Related topics: Corporate / Public protection

Two people from Stoke-on-Tern near Market Drayton have been sent to prison for the sale and supply of counterfeit goods, in a prosecution brought by Shropshire Council’s trading standards service.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court on 23 February 2024,  Angela O’Neill and Anthony Lee received custodial sentences of 10 months and 12 months respectively, for their involvement in the sale and supply of items including clothing, footwear, bedding, underwear, perfumes and aftershaves from their home address.

The case was brought after trading standards officers and West Mercia Police officers found the loft of the property was wholly given over to the storage of the counterfeit goods, set up with shoes and clothing displayed by brands, with prices and available sizes shown on the walls.

Over 1000 items were seized along with paperwork, iPads and laptops which revealed an elaborate customer base with significant orders being received for goods.  Items examined were confirmed to be cheap counterfeit copies of genuine well-known brands.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that if the goods seized were genuine, they would have had a value of around £285,000.

The Judge indicated that both defendants had used Facebook and mobile phones to sell the goods and that although the amount of profit made was unknown, it was nonetheless clear they were part of a substantial operation and someone was making a substantial amount of money from this. He was satisfied that both defendants played a significant role in the sale of the items and noted that they had put little mitigation forward nor had they helped with any identification of their suppliers or others involved in the enterprise.

Given the scale and commercial nature of their offending, the Judge found it inappropriate to suspend the sentence passed and advised the only proper term was one of immediate imprisonment.

Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulatory services, said:

“Not only is counterfeiting an illegal activity, it also takes away custom from legitimate, local, hardworking businesses within the county impacting on their ability to thrive and damaging the local economy of our market towns.  These impacts undermine the council’s priorities around achieving a healthy economy, and I am fully supportive of the action taken by the council’s trading standards team in bringing these individuals to task.

“Counterfeit goods may appear to be a cheap alternative but they are, by their very nature, inferior products and anyone involved in counterfeiting in Shropshire should expect a visit, loss of the goods they have purchased and potentially legal action which may, as this case demonstrates, result in the loss of their liberty.”