Members of the public who bought fake cosmetics or perfume from a tanning salon owner are being warned that they could cause allergic reactions and other health risks.
Richard Griffin tried to make a fast buck selling a wide range of counterfeit designer gear at Sun City in Welles Street, Sandbach.
He offered customers ‘Estee Lauder’ and ‘MAC’ cosmetics, ‘Chanel’ handbags, ‘Lacoste’ fragrances, ‘Tiffany & Co’ jewellery, ‘Barbour’ and ‘Super Dry’ jackets, ‘UGG’ footwear and ‘Gucci’ and ‘Dolce & Gabbana’ watches.
But Griffin’s money-making scheme was foiled after a member of the public complained to Cheshire East Council. An undercover Trading Standards officer visited the salon and made a test purchase.
Using their statutory powers, Council officers returned and seized 74 items, some of which were on display and some in storage. They also found a ledger book in which the illicit sales were recorded.
Trading Standards officers calculated that the genuine equivalents of the seized fake goods would retail for approximately £6,280.
Griffin, of The Stables, Stanthorn Hall, Middlewich Road, Middlewich, admitted 15 offences under the Trade Marks Act and was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work when he appeared at Warrington Crown Court on May 19.
He was ordered to pay £6,671 prosecution costs and, under a Proceeds of Crime confiscation order, he will also have to repay £1,857 or face three months in jail.
The court ordered that the counterfeit items seized from Griffin be destroyed.
Steph Cordon, Cheshire East Council’s head of communities, said: “Trade marks are an essential part of marketing or branding and once businesses register trademarks, Trading Standards services throughout the UK can take enforcement action against those who are found to have infringed them.
“The courts take a serious view of breaches of the Trade Marks Act 1994, with maximum penalties of up to ten years in jail.
“Intellectual property crime damages our economic wellbeing by affecting those who rely on genuine commerce to earn a living. It also poses considerable risks for consumers because fake goods are often dangerous and of poor quality.
“Fake cosmetics can be especially dangerous – some have been found to contain arsenic, cyanide or rat droppings and are harmful to health if used.
“I would urge anyone who bought cosmetics and perfume from Sun City not to use them because of the potential health risks.”