Pair jailed for selling dangerous fake goods on line

Sandwell trading standards bosses have welcomed two ten-month jail terms handed out to a couple who sold counterfeit goods, including fake Disney dolls, which contained a toxic chemical at more than 2,000 times the permitted level.

Lee Scully and Tracy Cockbill sold dolls which claimed to be characters from 'Frozen', as well as Android TV boxes with unsafe chargers which could kill. They were sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court last Friday.

They ignored advice and warnings from Sandwell's trading standards team that what they were doing was illegal and switched to Facebook and other online selling sites to avoid detection when Amazon withdrew their selling rights. Councillor Elaine Costigan, cabinet member for public health and protection, said:

"It's absolutely shocking that this pair thought it was acceptable to put the lives of consumers, particularly young children at risk to make money. I hope these sentences send out a strong message to others who think that selling unsafe items over the internet is an easy and risk-free way to make cash quickly."

Bob Charnley, Sandwell's trading standards manager, added: "E-commerce is growing fast and regulating online sales presents huge challenges to us but we are determined that the standards consumers expect on the high street should apply equally to online sales.

"E-commerce can provide huge benefits but it also presents huge risks and consumers need to be extremely cautious with ‘too good to be true deals.'"

Scully, aged 38 and Cockbill, 40, previously of Walsall Wood Road, Aldridge but now, Prestatyn, each admitted eight offences involving breaches of copyright, trademark and safety rules. Judge Barry Berlin, who handed out the sentences said:

"You exploited well-known brands and ignored warnings as you abused the trust of customers who expected authentic and safe goods whilst making many thousands of pounds for yourselves."

The pair now face action by Sandwell Trading Standards under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to strip them of the proceeds of their criminal activity.


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