A Llantrisant man caught with more than 214 counterfeit designer clothes, has been successfully prosecuted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Trading Standards team.
The case is particularly pertinent as proactive work against those who sell counterfeit goods is stepped up in the run-up to Christmas, when counterfeiters are more likely to be targeting those looking for a bargain festive present.
A guilty plea was entered by James Smith, aged 26 of Greenland Road, Llantrisant at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court in respect of four charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
As a result of his actions Smith was forced to pay fines amounting to £1,254.56.
Following a complaint regarding the sale of counterfeit clothing via an internet auction site in May 2012, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Trading Standards carried out a test purchase from Smith’s account. The Abercrombie & Fitch item was confirmed counterfeit.
A warrant of entry was executed at Smith’s home address on the 25th July 2012. In total 214 counterfeit items were seized all were confirmed counterfeit by brand holder representatives.
Smith’s solicitor explained to the court that his client had mental health issues and after dropping out of university had been living his life online and was very isolated.
Smith allegedly knew that the goods were counterfeit prior to the police investigation but as he had invested in the stock he tried to sell them to recoup the money.
The lay bench said that the offences were serious enough to merit custody but they would be suspending the custodial sentence of eight months for a year. He was also ordered to pay full costs of £1254.56 plus a victim surcharge of £80. Forfeiture and destruction of all items was granted by the court.
David Jones, Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This is the latest in a series of successful prosecutions against those who peddle counterfeit goods for sale within our communities.
“This sustained, zero-tolerance campaign, which is based on vital information received from our communities and calls for action received from our residents, will continue, especially as the busy festive shopping season approaches.
“The current tough economic times means now, more than ever, people are looking for bargain presents. Our strong advice to them is to steer clear of illegal designer goods offered for sale.
“They may think they are getting a bargain but are actually handing over their hard-earned money for items that are not what they seem, are not of the quality they purport to be and in some cases, particularly non-clothing items, may not actually meet strict safety standards needed.
“Counterfeit goods also damage the legitimate traders who work hard to stick to the rules and operate in a legal manner.”