A Merthyr Tydfil man has been prosecuted for selling counterfeit designer goods on Facebook.
Mathew James Carr ran a page called ‘Matt’s Designer Deals’ offering ‘designer’ goods including Diesel and Ralph Lauren clothing for sale at prices below market value.
Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates heard that during routine monitoring of social media by the County Borough Council’s Trading Standards Service, officers discovered the Facebook page and carried out covert test purchases which identified the Diesel and Ralph Lauren clothing as counterfeit.
A warrant was then executed at Carr’s home in Heol Rhos Las, Gellideg, where other clothing packaged as new and bearing brand names such as Zegna Sports, Abercrombie and Gant was seized.
Samples of the goods were sent for examination and confirmed as counterfeit. Following the warrant, Carr continued to advertise on Facebook. A further test purchase of a Ralph Lauren product was made which again was found to be counterfeit.
Carr pleaded guilty to offences under the Trade Marks Act and was given a 12-month community order, during which he has to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,117.35p.
Trading Standards Manager Paul Lewis said the magistrates had been particularly concerned that Carr had continued to sell counterfeit goods after the initial warrant had been made. “The sale of counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime,” he added. “Our aim is to make Merthyr Tydfil a fake-free town.”
County Borough Council Cabinet member for Regeneration and Public Protection Cllr Geraint Thomas said: “The sentence handed down should act as clear warning to anyone considering this type of criminality.
“A thriving economy requires a fair playing field for businesses to operate. Those who seek to undermine our legitimate traders will be robustly dealt with.”
If any residents have information on the supply of counterfeit goods, they are asked to contact Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org All information is treated in the strictest confidence.