A couple raked in more than £50,000 selling counterfeit vehicle badges online from their Cheshire home.
Paul Kelly and Lynsey Carter had been importing fake badges - including BMW, Ford, Porsche and Jaguar – from China and selling them online via websites such as eBay and Amazon.
Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards took the couple to court after being contacted by BMW’s brand protection company.
A total of 2,166 counterfeit vehicle badges for wheel hub centres and bonnets, with a total value of £6,821, were seized during the investigations from a property in Lavender Drive, Northwich.
It is estimated that over an 18 month period the pair sold counterfeit goods totalling £51,496.
Both pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading, contrary to section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006 and were sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday, November 22.
Kelly, 43, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and must undertake 180 hours of unpaid work as part of a community order. Carter, 44, received a community order for 180 hours unpaid work.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, they both received confiscations orders, a total of £24,207 for Carter and £36,311 for Kelly, both to be paid within three months.
The council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “Our Trading Standards officers protect residents across Cheshire West by investigating the sale of these inferior and often unsafe counterfeit products.
“This is the end result of a very complex investigation. This joint operation also involved the North West Regional Investigations Team and Cheshire Police.
“Counterfeiting is an illegal activity which affects the livelihoods of legitimate, hard-working businesses. We will take action against anyone found selling counterfeit products in Cheshire West and Chester.”
See full story in the Chester Leader