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Runcorn man sentenced for selling fake football kits

Counterfeit New Balance, Nike and Adidas football kits with an estimated retail value of £15,000 were seized Photo: Halton Borough Council

A Runcorn man who was selling counterfeit football clothing from his Caeathro holiday home has been ordered to wear a tag for the next four months.

In a case brought by Gwynedd Council’s Trading Standards team against Michael Spencer of Runcorn, he was sentenced at Caernarfon Magistrate’s Court on 8 August.

The 45-year-old was given a community order and will have to wear a tagging device and be confined to his home in Runcorn between the hours of 7pm and 7am for the next four months.

He was also ordered to pay the Council’s legal costs of £1,222.88 and a further £60 victim surcharge.

The magistrates also ordered that he sign a forfeiture order after he pleaded guilty to six charges of supplying football kits which contravened the provisions of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Following the receipt of intelligence that Mr Spencer was selling a large quantity of football clothing from his holiday home in Caeathro, Gwynedd via his Facebook page, a covert operation was carried out by Gwynedd Council’s Trading Standards Unit, where he supplied a counterfeit Liverpool football kit to an undercover enforcement officer.

Analysis by the Trade Mark holder proved the kit to be counterfeit and in a joint operation with North Wales Police a further 261 assorted counterfeit New Balance, Nike and Adidas football kits with an estimated retail value of £15,000 were seized.

Spencer gave a “no comment” answer to all questions put to him, including a refusal to say where he got the clothing.

John Eden Jones from Gwynedd Council Trading Standards Unit said:

The sale and supply of counterfeit or fake clothing is often seen as a victimless crime however the quality of counterfeit clothing is often inferior and in some cases non-compliant with fire safety regulations.

As a Council, we have a duty to protect not only the interests and safety of Gwynedd residents but also the economic interests of the businesses who legally sell such products.

– John Eden Jones

Halton Borough Council's Executive Board Member for Trading Standards, Cllr Dave Cargill, added:

Counterfeiting is now regarded by criminals as having lower risks and providing higher returns than drug trafficking.

It has emerged as an ever-increasing and profitable transnational business as criminals take advantage of advances in technology and the rise of e-shopping and e-commerce.’

This case should serve as a warning to those involved in the supply and sale of illegal clothing via Facebook and other social media sites that appropriate action will be taken against offenders.

– Cllr Dave Cargill

If you have information relating to the sale of any illegal goods you can report the matter to Trading Standards, anonymously if you like, by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.