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Norwich trader sold fake goods on the web

PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:08 02 July 2010

Christine Cunningham

A Norwich trader who sold fake designer watches and handbags on his website may have to sell his home to repay £15,000 from the profits he made.

A Norwich trader who sold fake designer watches and handbags on his website may have to sell his home to repay £15,000 from the profits he made.

Jonathan Young, 27, ran a website called Discount Watches For Less, offering fake Rolex and other designer watches and handbags such as Louis Vuitton for £80 a time, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The court was told yesterday that Young made it clear on his website that the goods were fake, as he had been wrongly told by his supplier in China that it was all right to sell fake goods providing he made it clear they were not genuine.

However, Ian James, prosecuting, said that it was illegal to sell replica goods such as this without the permission of the genuine trademark holder.

He said the website was investigated by Norfolk Trading Standards who made test purchases of a fake Tag Heuer watch and Louis Vuitton bag.

He added the items cost £80 each, but if the genuine items were bought, the real cost would be £4,000.

In November 2008, trading standards officers went to Young's address in Harmer Road, north Norwich, and found there had been 140 online transactions over a five-month period from June to November 2008 and the value of the sales were £12,287.

Mr James said Young was cooperative and said he had not realised it was wrong: “His Chinese supplier had told him it was lawful to sell the items provided they were identified as replicas.”

He said once it was pointed out that it was illegal, he stopped selling the fake goods.

Young admitted seven counts of offering fake items for sale without permission of the registered trademark owners.

Sentencing him, Judge Simon Barham said Young had been running a legal business until June 2008 when he started selling replica designer goods.

“You thought it was legal, only it was not. The harm is to the owners of the trademark.”

He said cases such as this were expensive to investigate. “The public has to pay for that investigation. It also harms the business of those whose products are genuine.”

He imposed a 17-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered Young to do 200 hours unpaid work. He also ordered him to pay back £15,000 from the profits he made and pay £2,000 legal costs.

He said he would have to serve six months in jail if he does not pay the money back in the next six months.

Michael Clare, for Young, said he shared the family home with his wife and child and it now might have to be sold to repay the money.

“He's lost his business and jeopardised his future.”

He said Young had been rebuilding his life and had got another job.

Mr Clare added there had been no subterfuge used.

“He used his own address and PayPal account and used an email that would be readily traceable to him.”

He said he had been foolish to accept the word of his supplier that what he was doing was legal.

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