Shropshire Star

Couple jailed after loft found full of counterfeit goods and price charts

Two people have been jailed after their loft was found to be packed with counterfeit goods and pricing charts.

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Anthony Lee and Angela O'Neill have both been jailed

Anthony Lee, aged 38, was given a 12-month prison sentence, and his 53-year-old co-defendant Angela O’Neill a 10-month jail term, for their involvement in the sale and supply of items including clothing, footwear, bedding, underwear, perfumes and aftershaves from their home in Langley Dale, Stoke-on-Tern, near Market Drayton

The case was brought by Shropshire Council after trading standards officers and West Mercia Police officers found the loft of the property was wholly given over to the storage of the counterfeit goods, set up with shoes and clothing displayed by brands, with prices and available sizes shown on the walls.

More than 1,000 items were seized along with paperwork, iPads and laptops which, trading standards said, revealed an elaborate customer base with significant orders being received for goods.

Items examined were confirmed to be cheap counterfeit copies of genuine well-known brands.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard in a hearing on February 23 that if the goods seized were genuine, they would have had a value of around £285,000.

Mr Recorder Adrian Jack indicated that both defendants had used Facebook and mobile phones to sell the goods and that, although the amount of profit made was unknown, it was nonetheless clear they were part of a substantial operation and someone was making a substantial amount of money from this.

He was satisfied that both defendants played a significant role in the sale of the items and noted that they had put little mitigation forward nor had they helped with any identification of their suppliers or others involved in the enterprise.

Given the scale and commercial nature of their offending, the Judge said he found it inappropriate to suspend the sentence passed and advised the only proper term was one of immediate imprisonment.

Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulatory services, said: “Not only is counterfeiting an illegal activity, it also takes away custom from legitimate, local, hardworking businesses within the county impacting on their ability to thrive and damaging the local economy of our market towns.

"These impacts undermine the council’s priorities around achieving a healthy economy, and I am fully supportive of the action taken by the council’s trading standards team in bringing these individuals to task.

“Counterfeit goods may appear to be a cheap alternative but they are, by their very nature, inferior products and anyone involved in counterfeiting in Shropshire should expect a visit, loss of the goods they have purchased and potentially legal action which may, as this case demonstrates, result in the loss of their liberty.”