Man jailed for huge counterfeit clothing operation

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Birmingham man Lal Chand jailed for two years

A MAN who produced counterfeit clothing on a huge scale from a factory in Leicester has been jailed for two years.

Lal Chand, of Handsworth, Birmingham was arrested for manufacturing counterfeit clothing at a factory in Beech Street, Leicester, in September 2009.

Trading Standards officers at the time seized over 800 garments in various stages of manufacture, along with over 6,000 designer labels, badges and buttons. They also seized four embroidery machines and one screen printer involved in producing fake clothes.

Officers estimated the potential loss to the industry from the fake goods to be about £210,045.

Chand, 35, pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to applying false trade marks to garments and possessing industrial machinery with the sole intention of producing fake clothing, an offence under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

The court was told that Mr Chand was a very significant player in producing counterfeit clothes, and that offences of this nature harmed reputable companies.

The raid on the factory, known as Operation North, was led by Leicester City Trading Standards and was a joint operation with the UK Border Agency, Leicestershire Police, and the Regional Scambusters Unit.

One person was arrested during the operation for working illegally and was later deported.

The main brands discovered were, Adidas, Nike, Lyle & Scott, Ralph Lauren, G-Star Raw and Stone Island.

A figure of £228,532.50 was said to have been the illegal benefit to Mr Chand. A forfeiture order of all seized goods, including the four embroidery machines and screen printer, was granted by the court.

Leicester City Council Trading Standards manager Ronald Ruddock said: “This is a great result for our service in the fight against counterfeiting. If we take out those trading illegally honest traders have a better opportunity to flourish.”

Ben Procter, Trading Standards officer in charge of the investigation, added: “I am very pleased with the result. It was a long investigation and I am glad that the court has viewed this as seriously as we did.”

As well as affecting genuine manufacturers, counterfeit clothing is often also linked to wider organised crime. Figures from the website www.fakesfundcrime.org.uk, which was set up by Crimestoppers, show that in 2007 about 70 per cent of the £1.3 billion made from intellectual property crime flowed back to organised crime.

Anyone aware of traders or individuals producing counterfeit items in Leicester can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

 

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