A Stockton Borough trader who sold counterfeit designer goods was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court today (16 October).
Elizabeth Keenan, 39, of Pembroke Drive, Ingleby Barwick, was convicted of seven offencesunder section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994. She was given a suspended custodial sentence of six months per count to run concurrently, a community order of 200 hours’ unpaid work, and ordered to pay costs of £40 per month for two years.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing Service began an investigation in May 2014 after they received reports that Ms Keenan was selling counterfeit branded items, including clothing and accessories, on Facebook and at local car boot markets.
During a search of her home she was found to have a large amount of branded clothing, jewellery, accessories and shoes - more than 300 of these items were identified as counterfeit. Among the items were counterfeit Breitling watches, a Hermès belt and Ralph Lauren clothing, as well as fake branded clothing labels and buttons.
Judge Armstrong commented that Ms Keenan was running a small‘cottage industry’ but accepted that she had not set out to deceive customers, but the offences did affect genuine businesses.
A spokesperson for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council said: “It is against the law tosell fake branded goods so any item bearing the label of a well-known brand should be a genuine article.
“Consumers should be cautious before they purchase branded items and buy from an authorised reseller - if a bargain price seems too good to be true then it probably is. Anyone who believes they have been sold counterfeit merchandise should contact our Trading Standards team for advice.”
For assistance relating to counterfeit goods, call Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Trading Standards Team on 01642 526560.