Edmonds Marshall McMahon, on behalf of TM Eye Ltd, has successfully brought prosecutions against the first two suspects under ‘Operation Mordor’, an undercover operation focussing on counterfeit goods traders in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester.
The January 2016 Intellectual Property Office report ‘Counting the Cost – The Trade in Counterfeit Goods in Manchester’, commissioned by Baroness Neville Rolfe DBE CMG, Minister for Intellectual Property, highlighted the real concerns about the impact of the Cheetham Hill area as a ‘counterfeiting hotbed …… where income tax and consumer safety is simply ignored, undercuts and undermines legitimate businesses and allows other criminality to be funded and flourish’.
Mr Riasat Ali pleaded guilty to ten offences of selling counterfeit goods at his shop premises between 9th September 2015 and 18th December 2015. A further possession charge related to a vast amount of goods seized during a raid by police on 18th December 2015, valued at over £1 million. Mr Ali was sentenced yesterday to 8 weeks custodial sentence suspended for 12 months, unpaid work of 200 hours and the victim surcharge of £80.
When sentencing the bench said:
“We need to send out a strong message. Only custody is justified in this case. You were involved in selling counterfeit goods on a number of occasions over a number of months”.
Mr Muhammed Ali, who has a previous conviction for similar offences, pleaded guilty to two offences of selling counterfeit goods and was also sentenced yesterday to a 12 month community order, unpaid work of 150 hours, 20 day rehabilitation requirement and a victim surcharge of £60.
Two further defendants pleaded guilty to further charges and have had their cases adjourned for pre sentence reports.
The undercover operation was brought by TM Eye on behalf of well known brands including Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Jimmy Choo, Superdry, Hugo Boss, Pandora, Thomas Sabo, Links of London, Tresor Paris and Armani. It involved a 6 month operation aimed at tackling organised crime in the vicinity of Cheetham Hill.