South Gloucestershire Council successfully prosecuted a Bradley Stoke woman for possessing and selling counterfeit luxury goods and cosmetics at Northavon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 19th February.
Rebecca Farr, 34, of Brake Close was convicted of possessing and selling counterfeit luxury goods and cosmetics online via Facebook. Farr pleaded guilty to a total of 15 charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and was sentenced to 60 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay £520 in prosecution costs and had her counterfeit stock and a computer confiscated.
The case was taken by South Gloucestershire Trading Standards following a tip off that Farr was selling designer goods through her Facebook account and to personal callers at her home which, at the time, was in Arden Close, Bradley Stoke. Officers then arranged a test purchase of some Mac cosmetics items through a website which was linked to Farr’s Facebook page and the received items were confirmed as counterfeit.
Farr’s home was subsequently raided by Trading Standards and police, resulting in the seizure of over 300 suspected counterfeit items along with business records, money and computers. Designer shoes that were packaged and ready to be sent out to customers were also detained by Trading Standards. All of the seized items were confirmed as counterfeit by brand owners.
In interview, Farr claimed to have sourced designer bags and shoes from a local market and progressed to sourcing Mac cosmetics from an online seller. She claimed to know the bags and shoes were fakes, but believed the cosmetics items to be genuine.
PayPal records were also examined by investigators revealing that Farr was generating an income from online sales of approximately £1,000 per month. The lucrative business was disrupted by the raid after only three months of online trading, but Farr had been encouraged to invest in large amounts of stock, estimated to be worth approximately £6,000, all of which was detained during the raid.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Senior Fair Trade Officer Neil Derrick said:
“This case involved the sale of fake high end luxury goods including Christian Louboutin designer shoes, Mulberry and Jimmy Choo handbags and purses, and Mac and Dior cosmetics. Mulberry is a South West business employing local people and flying the flag for British retailers, and deserves the protection of the law.”
Communities Committee Chair Cllr Claire Young said:
“South Gloucestershire Council’s Trading Standards team rigorously enforce brand protection legislation in order to protect legitimate traders and consumers in these tough times. This particular online trader has learnt a very valuable lesson that crime does not pay, and I strongly encourage anyone who is aware of similar activity to report the matter to Trading Standards for investigation.”
Anyone wishing to report sales of counterfeit items can contact Trading Standards in complete confidence by calling 03454 04 05 06.
Source: Press release by South Gloucestershire Council.
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