Pair sold £55,000 of fake jeans on Ebay

A Norfolk pair made more than £55,000 by selling fake designer jeans to unsuspecting customers on the internet auction site Ebay, a court heard yesterday .

A Norfolk pair made more than £55,000 by selling fake designer jeans to unsuspecting customers on the internet auction site Ebay, a court heard yesterday .

Robert Cooper, 41, and Alison Sizeland, 34, from Aylsham, sold designer jeans such as Diesel, Seven, Rock and Republic, Von Dutch and Bench to individual customers and traders for £30 to £35 per pair which normally would retail at around £100.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Cooper and Sizeland started out trading honestly.

But when they found the goods were fake after getting complaints from Ebay customers they continued to sell the fake clothing to unsuspecting customers over a six-month period.

The scam was finally ended after Norfolk trading standards investigated the matter and recovered some of the fake goods.

Cooper, of Ethel Tipple Drive, Aylsham and Sizeland, of Hungate Street, Aylsham, both admitted conspiracy to sell counterfeit jeans and clothing.

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They were both given nine months jail suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work.

They also were both ordered to pay £3,000 costs towards the prosecution which was brought by Norfolk Trading Standards.

Recorder David Anderson QC, told them it was an operation on a “significant scale” and required a thorough investigation by trading standards.

He accepted it had started out as an honest business but said: “The time came when you realised that the goods were counterfeit.”

He said although full refunds were given to unsatisfied customers on Ebay, by June 2005 they realised the goods were probably fake.

“This is a very serious offence. It harms not only the people that buy the jeans that you were selling but also the manufacturers of the jeans.”

He added: “It also affects public confidence with buying and selling on Ebay and elsewhere. It is important for the courts to mark the seriousness of offences like this with the sentence that will deter others.”

Christopher Morgan, for Cooper, said it had started out as an honest enterprise with the jeans coming from a supplier in China. He said although there had been complaints there was also a large number of people who had purchased the jeans without any complaint.

He said that Cooper was a man of previous good character.

Greg Perrins, for Sizeland, said that she had ignored the warning signs about the jeans and had continued trading.

He said she did not enjoy a lavish lifestyle with any of the profits and lived in rented accommodation.

After the hearing, Norfolk County Council trading standards welcomed the penalty handed out to Cooper and Sizeland.

Dennis O'Brien, investigations team manager, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to bring these two individuals to task for generating a vast amount of money from the sale of counterfeit clothing. This was a well organised operation that these two individuals were running from private addresses in Aylsham with the pair importing jeans and clothing into Norfolk from the Far East and then selling goods on via the internet to individuals and traders.

“The pair was shipping items right across the globe generating sales with profits in excess of £55,000 over a period of six months when they knew the goods were counterfeit.

“Every counterfeit item sold in Norfolk results in the loss of one legitimate sale for local businesses and Norfolk County Council Trading Standards will continue to do everything we can to prevent that happening.”

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