An internet trader who sold fake designer goods on Facebook was caught with the help of a professional brand investigator.
Alexander Burton Bolton, 33, was given a 12-month community order with 60 hours unpaid work after a court heard he sold a range of fake branded products online.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,400 plus a £60 victim surcharge after being found guilty of five offences under section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994.
The court heard that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing Service began an investigation after they were informed by a professional brand investigator that Bolton had sold them a pair of counterfeit GHD branded hair straighteners.
During a search of Mr Bolton’s home and vehicles Trading Standards officers found a small quantity of counterfeit goods including a Nike England football shirt, a pair of Nike trainers, Lacoste T-Shirts and Ralph Lauren polo T-shirts. They also found what appeared to be an order book showing numerous sales over a period of time throughout the Tees Valley.
Further investigation found that despite receiving a written warning in July 2015, Mr Bolton had continued to advertise fake goods on Facebook.
Teesside Magistrates Court made a Forfeiture Order for the goods previously seized to be destroyed.
In mitigation Bolton, of Cayton Drive, Billingham, maintained that he didn’t sell any counterfeit goods and he didn’t deny that the goods were counterfeit.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, said: “Making or selling fake goods is against the law so if an item carries a well-known brand, it should be the genuine article. Our Trading Standards service is here to make sure that people get what they pay for.
“Consumers should think carefully before they purchase designer goods online and if the prices seem too good to be true they probably are.
"Anyone who believes they have been sold counterfeit merchandise should contact our Trading Standards team for advice.”
To report suspected counterfeit goods, call Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Trading Standards team on 01642 526560.
People can contact Hartlepool Borough Council's trading standards officers on 01429 266522.