Rogue Traders Sentenced after Police Find Cache of Fake Designer Goods
Surelock authenticated the seized Tiffany jewellery and J’Adore perfumes.
When police and trading standards officers opened the doors to two industrial units they found a stash of trendy designer gear.
The only trouble was, it was all fake.
Among 10,000 items spanning 39 big brands was everything from J’Adore perfume to Tiffany jewellery, Hermes purses and Louis Vuitton socks, Bristol Crown Court heard.
And a paper trial of documents led investigators to the two rogue traders in possession of the counterfeit cache.
Darren Ward, 41, of Bleadon in Weston-super-Mare and Timothy Tivney, 35, of Balmoral Way, Weston-super-Mare, both pleaded guilty to unauthorised use of Trade Marks, contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994, between January and July 2012.
The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Neil Ford QC told them: “The seriousness is that it undermines the goods of the genuine Trade Marks holders.
“Sentencing must involve an element of deterrent.”
The judge handed Ward – who had a history of similar offending – 13 months’ prison suspended for two years, with 250 hours of unpaid work.
He gave Tivney a year’s community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.
Alan Fuller, prosecuting, said the fake goods also included Vans shoes, Adidas trainers, Jo Malone cosmetics, GHD hair straighteners, Chanel sunglasses and Superdry tops.
He said the traders were brought to book after an auction of branded clothes in Bristol in 2011, sold in the name of Ward’s wife.
The court heard they were bought by a Mr Lawson who, when he suspected they were counterfeit, contacted Lacoste and got a refund after his fears were confirmed.
Officers from the South West Regional Trading Standards Enforcement Team (known as Scambusters) assisted police in searching two business units at BW Estate, Old Mixon Crescent, Weston-super-Mare, and found the fake gear as well as paperwork leading to Ward and Tivney.
Though potential loss of £270,000 was estimated for the Trade Mark holders, at their reduced prices Ward was said to have be on for a turnover of £27,000 and Tivney just £3,000.
Richard Shepherd, defending Ward, said his client was setting up a low price food business at the time.
He said father-of-three Ward donated food to food banks and also helped his wife through serious illness.
Mr Shepherd said: “He took a step back in order to make a quick buck, in order to supplement the income of the family.
“Even purchase of fuel was difficult at this time because there was no money coming into the family.”
Oliver Willmott, defending Tivney, said: “He has no intention of ever putting himself on the wrong side of the law again.”