Football Kit Man Sentenced for Making Fake One Direction Shirts
A football kit man ran a lucrative sideline flogging thousands of fake One Direction hoodies and T-shirts online.
Gary Simpson churned out the bogus boy band gear from the clubhouse at Moorside Rangers, using the equipment intended for printing names and numbers on strips.
Simpson, 55, had no licence to use the pop stars’ branding, the Manchester Evening News reports but fans snapped up £16.99 items bearing crude copies of logos belonging to the teen idols as well as Justin Bieber, JLS, The Wanted, Olly Murs and Westlife.
Simpson was spared jail after admitting eleven trademark offences over two years.
The court heard he was a ‘decent’ man who turned to counterfeiting as his legitimate workwear business faltered, with debts piling up.
He was caught red-handed after a representative of the firm which owns JLS’ copyright made a test purchase from Simpson’s eBay page, and found the hoodie he received was counterfeit and poor quality.
Salford trading standards started an investigation, leading to a raid in February on his home in Walkden, Salford and his warehouse in nearby Worsley.
During the search, Simpson admitted he printed the fakes at the football club’s ground in Swinton.
Nicholas Courtney, prosecuting, said: “He would find the relevant logos on the internet, download them, and send them to cutting machine at the football club.
“The counterfeit goods part of the business had been extremely busy – £15,000 in the three months prior to Christmas.
“It seems clear, on any basis, the defendant was doing a substantial trade, with profit measured in the tens of thousands.”
Neil Usher, defending, said: “At the time, he had no idea how serious his activities were. He foolishly assumed because others were selling them on eBay there was nothing wrong with it.”
Sentencing him to a 16-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and 100 hours community work, Judge Lesley Newton said she took into account Simpson’s ‘significant contribution’ to the football club, cooperation with the investigation, and ‘genuine remorse’.
She added if he were jailed, his creditors would go unpaid and his family would ‘suffer severely’.