Lee Watson of 5 Bute Avenue, Hereford, pleaded guilty at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on 27 January 2020 to fifteen offences relating to the sale of counterfeit goods.
The court heard that Watson, who was residing at the Brynowen Holiday Park in Borth at the time of the offences in June 2019, was investigated after tip-offs from the public that he was selling fake trainers and clothing on Facebook. When a warrant was executed at his holiday caravan on 13 June 2019, officers found a variety of fake Nike, Adidas, Balenciaga, The North Face, Ellesse, Converse and Levi’s clothing and footwear stored there. The goods, with an estimated High Street value of £8240, were immediately seized.
Watson fully cooperated with the Trading Standards investigation and admitted the offences in interview. He claimed that he had bought the counterfeits to sell them at local car boot sales, but had then resorted to advertising them on the ‘Aberystwyth swap shop’ Facebook group when the car boot sales had been rained off.
Watson was summonsed for fifteen offences contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994. The offences related to the exposure and possession for sale of counterfeit goods. Watson entered a guilty plea to all charges at his first opportunity at the initial hearing at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court.
A probation report detailed how Watson had got into debt and had saw what he considered an opportunity to earn some quick money. His intention was to buy goods from a market in the Midlands and sell them locally in Ceredigion to earn a profit.
Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member for Public Protection services, welcomed the sentence and warned others that any similar offending would be investigated and prosecuted in line with the Authority’s enforcement policy. He emphasised, “Ceredigion is a county which welcomes and supports genuine businesses and seeks to help them grow and thrive. Abuse of intellectual property rights, such as trade marks in this case, undermines both the level playing field for honest businesses and one of the pillars of the County’s creative commerce sector. Anyone thinking of selling counterfeit goods risks financial loss, an appearance in court and punishment.”
Watson was sentenced to a twelve-month community order, fifteen rehabilitation activity requirement days, and 120 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £815 costs to Ceredigion County Council and a court charge of £85. The Magistrates ordered the destruction of the counterfeit goods.