Trading Standards have found themselves 1-0 up against a Gelli counterfeit clothing trader who was selling fake sports kits.
Officers from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council took action following complaints made that Ian Williams, 39, was selling counterfeit sports clothing on social media.
A search warrant was executed at his home in Alexandra Road last May and items seized included football and rugby clothing relating to the All Blacks, France, British and Irish Lions, Manchester United, Argentina, Spain, Liverpool, Arsenal, Barcelona, Paris St Germain and Borussia Dortmund.
Officers also seized two mobile phones and a single document, evidence from which showed that Williams was importing the items himself from China and selling them via three Facebook profiles - his own, one under the name Stephen Jones and one called "Replica Football Kits and Clothing."
He had some 150 customers and is believed to have sold thousands of pounds of goods.
Samples from the clothing seized were tested and found to be counterfeit.
As a result of the operation, Williams was charged with 12 offences. These related to:
- Selling a counterfeit Manchester United Football Club Shirt, an offence under the 1994 Trade Marks Act.
- 10 charges relating to possessing various items of football and rugby clothing for the purpose of sale.
- One of running a fraudulent businesses - namely the selling and distribution of counterfeit clothing. An offence under the 2006 Fraud Act.
He admitted all 12 offences when he appeared at Merthyr Magistrates' Court on October 31 and was given full credit by the bench for his early guilty plea.
He was sentenced to complete a 12 month Community Order with 80 hours' unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
All items seized in the warrant will be forfeited and destroyed.
Paul Mee, Director of Public Health, Protection and Community Services, said: "This case is a timely reminder to those looking to make money from the sales of counterfeit goods in the run up to Christmas.
"Previously limited to markets and car boot sales, this kind of counterfeit trading is now extremely popular on social media, where it is free and relatively easy to offer goods for sale.
"However, due to the open nature of social media activity it also means we are able to discover and identify fraudulent activity, as was the case with these offences.
"We will take action, where necessary, to protect consumers and genuine brands alike. Not only does the sale of fake brands affect the consumer, who do not get the goods they think they are paying for, but also undermines legal traders who work hard to provide authentic, high quality goods.
"Our advice to consumers looking for a festive bargain is to shop carefully, especially on social media. If an item or its price seems too good to be true - it probably is."
Posted on Monday 19th November 2018