Seller of £35,500 illegally-branded goods sentenced
City of York Council has successfully prosecuted the director of a company selling illegally-branded goods totalling over £35,500 who was yesterday (Monday 7 July) sentenced in York Crown Court.
Lee Holt, Director of Poppleton-based company UK Chip Tuning Ltd, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, plus 150 hours unpaid work as well as confiscation order to pay back the £35,521 he earned. He was also ordered to pay £5,000 in prosecution costs plus a £100 victim surcharge.
Mr Holt illegally sold over £30,000 of counterfeit vehicle diagnostic equipment and £5,000 of fake car key rings on eBay, both illegally branded with the registered Trade Marks including Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Opel and Volvo
The prosecution was brought by City of York Council’s trading standards service after officers received a complaint from General Motors about Mr Holt’s company selling vehicle diagnostic tools unlawfully bearing their ‘Opel’ Trade Mark. These tools not only diagnose faults and enhance the performance of cars, but can over-ride security systems too.
Trading standards officers, with the assistance of North Yorkshire Police, searched Mr Holt’s home and business in January 2013. They seized over 50 unlawfully-branded vehicle diagnostic ‘scanners’ and more than 800 key rings bearing a variety of trade marks.
Mr Holt told the investigating officers that he was selling these items to improve his eBay ratings and they were not his main line of business. He said that he didn’t know that he was breaching a trade mark and that he had probably made a loss on the sales.
Mr Holt pleaded guilty to 12 Trade Marks Act offences and one offence of money laundering. He also asked for a further 3,334 similar Trade Mark offences to be taken into consideration.
Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Community Safety, said: “The sale of counterfeit goods is estimated to cost the UK economy over a billion pounds each year which also hurts local York businesses: every pound spent on illegal goods is a pound not spent in our legitimate economy and the proceeds of this kind of crime can often perpetuate further criminal activity.”
“Wherever possible, City of York Council will use the powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure that criminals do not get way with the money they make from crime.”
Chief Inspector Alisdair Dey of North Yorkshire Police’s York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Trading in counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime and affects everyone in our communities. It will not be tolerated. This case sends a clear message to those who commit such crimes that it does not pay and they will be brought to justice.”
Anyone wishing to report the sale of counterfeit goods can contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.
Notes to Editors
The council’s five key priorities for 2011-2015 are:
- Create jobs and grow the economy
- Get York moving
- Build strong communities
- Protect vulnerable people
- Protect the environment
For further information please contact:
City of York Council
Tel: 01904 552017
Fax: 01904 551064
Mob/out of hours: 07767318082