'Lone wolf' ran £400k firm selling fake Chanel and Louis Vuitton products
- Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards
A "lone wolf" ran an internet business selling fake Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors products for more than four years.
Suffolk Trading Standards officers had been investigating Bradley Lockey since 2017 over his internet and Facebook business Smith's Labels, which had a turnover of about £400,000 over four years - although Lockey disputes this.
Appearing at Ipswich Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, June 23, the 32-year-old admitted six charges of possessing goods with a false trademark for sale.
These included a fake Chanel purse and four handbags, four fake Louis Vuitton clutch bags, a belt, hat and scarf, two pairs of fake Celine sunglasses and a fake Mulberry handbag and three belts, as well as 20 pairs of fake Michael Kors earrings and five bags, and 12 fake MAC lipsticks.
Officers attended a storage unit at Pinbush Road, Lowestoft, in March 2019, where they phoned Lockey and asked him to attend to show them inside.
Lockey, previously of Cleveland Road, Lowestoft, but now of Clockhouse Way, Braintree, told officers he was in Fuerteventura, despite phone evidence later showing he was in Lowestoft, with the storage unit broken into later that night.
Laura Austin, prosecuting, said they could not prove Lockey was behind the break-in, but added his unit was the only one targeted.
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She said: "He was under suspicion for some time and was extremely elusive with Trading Standards who made several efforts to speak to him, changing his number and moving house several times.
"He has done his best to give authorities the slip."
Declan Gallagher, mitigating, however, claimed Lockey was homeless and "slid" into the business after suffering a slipped disc, which prevented him from returning to his previous job in demolition.
He said: "He was under no duty to speak to Trading Standards when he said he was in Fuerteventura, and he doesn't have a fixed address. He is homeless.
"It started with him needing a blue tie for a wedding, and when it arrived from China it had an Armani label on it.
"He was quite taken with it and it became apparent there were a lot of items available."
Magistrates requested an all options report to be prepared by probation before sentencing Lockey, who was granted unconditional bail until he is due to return to court on July 14.