A Strangeways business has been fined almost £40,000 after being caught selling hundreds of fake designer handbags.
In September 2018, Officers from Manchester City Council Trading Standards, GMP, and brand representatives raided Jamie Bags Ltd, in Woolley Street.
During this action a total of 769 handbags, holdalls and purses - all counterfeit - were seized.
Brands found included Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Bulgari and Hello Kitty.
This was not the first time action had been taken against this premises. In September 2017 a warning was issued against the business due to suspected trademark violations.
Following the seizure of goods the company’s director, Giacomo Chen, was interviewed under caution by the Council in February 2019.
This was followed by a guilty plea entered by the company on September 2, 2020, admitting four offences of having counterfeit goods in possession for supply.
Sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on February 4, 2021, His Honour Judge Nicholas Dean QC fined the company £37,500, and ordered costs of £3,843.88 to be paid. A forfeiture order was also made.
Speaking after this verdict, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “This is a fantastic result for our Trading Standards and Legal teams and represents more than two years of hard work to ensure this conviction was secured.
“Counterfeit trading is an offence that we take very seriously, knowing that it is a gateway to even more serious crimes such as drug dealing, human trafficking and violent crime. Money that flows through counterfeit shops often ends up in the hands of organised criminals which is why we are determined to cut off these sources of revenue.
“This is one of the largest financial penalties we have seen in recent times and I hope it sends a message that selling fake goods is not something you can get away with.”
Phil Lewis of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, said: “While legitimate shops on the high street have been forced to close their doors, we are witnessing a huge growth in counterfeit goods being sold by predatory criminal gangs operating from backstreets and illicit markets.
“UK Government figures reveal that counterfeiting in the UK is now worth £13.6bn, resulting in 60,000 lost jobs and £3.1bn in lost taxes which could be used to support our crucial frontline public services. Instead, it is falling into criminal hands and funding other forms of illicit trafficking, such as people, drugs and weapons.
“This latest achievement by Trading Standards at Manchester City Council not only protects our communities but sends a clear message to the criminals involved that black market profiteering will not be tolerated.”