A MAN has been prosecuted for selling counterfeit goods online.

John Paul Harrison, of Burma Road in Oswestry, appeared in Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to four offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Magistrates heard how the defendant had established his supply chains into Powys and was selling counterfeit goods of major brands including Adidas, Chanel, Super Dry and Ugg on Facebook.

The business had been operating for two years and Harrison advertised goods using various Facebook groups, with orders coming to his account.

The defendant facilitated orders in the region of five a day for 200 days each year, with each order being worth £25.

The counterfeit goods were purchased from Manchester to order and then supplied to a network of contacts made via Facebook.

Magistrates sentenced Harrison to a 12-month community order and ordered him to carry out 150 community service, reduced to 120 hours as a result of his early guilty plea.

He was also ordered to pay £7,864 costs which he will have to repay at £20 per week.

Traders and individuals who decide to supply counterfeit goods over the internet could face legal action with substantial penalties, as well as losing all the money they have made from their criminal activities, Powys County Council has warned.

The warning has been issued by the council's Trading Standards Service after it successfully prosecuted one defendant at court this week for selling counterfeit good online.

Councillor James Evans, Powys County Council Cabinet member for Trading Standards, said: “We support legitimate businesses and local tax payers by targeting illegal shadow economy activities such as product counterfeiting by individuals, who have little regard to the county's traders and only seek to further destabilise our economy.

"Firm action is needed on any issues related to product counterfeiting to promote fair trading within our community and to take the criminal benefit away from those that conduct in criminal activity.

“We will continue this work to support the intellectual property rights of our local businesses, the wider business community and also the safety of the public in general.”

Clive Jones, the council’s professional lead for Trading Standards, community safety and emergency planning, said: “Counterfeiting is a serious criminal offence and, like any criminality, involves other kinds of loss on which it is difficult to place an exact value.

“What we encounter is individuals solely looking at profit, with no experience in the product they are importing or buying, no knowledge of legitimate supply chains or the original product or concern about the safety of the product they are selling and who don't care about what effect it has on legitimate trade. We will stamp these practises out through education and enforcement.

“Our surveillance on illegal activity involving counterfeiting is increasing and we ask users of auction sites or any person offered suspected counterfeit goods to be vigilant and to warn us of any suspicious sellers through our contact points. Alternatively ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The council's Trading Standards Service can be contacted on Brecon 01874 623 420; Llandrindod Wells 01597 826 032; Newtown 01686 617 524.

Alternatively email trading.standards@powys.gov.uk or visit www.powys.gov.uk/tradingstandards.