Banbury couple guilty of £1m fake football memorabilia fraud

Image source, FA Premier Signings / Facebook
Image caption,
The Rennies' website sold fake signed squad shirts for more than £700

A couple's online scam selling fake signed items of football memorabilia is reported to have netted £1m.

David and Clare Rennie, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, sold 4,500 "signed" shirts, balls and boots to online customers, a court heard.

David Rennie, 46, was convicted by a jury at Bournemouth Crown Court of participating in a fraudulent business as a sole trader, and money laundering.

His wife Clare, 45, had previously pleaded guilty to the two charges.

The pair will be sentenced on 16 February.

Dorset Trading Standards, which prosecuted the couple, said Mr Rennie had made £1m over nine years.

The couple's website, FA Premier Signings, sold shirts, balls and boots purportedly signed by famous footballers including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.

Image source, A1 Sporting Speakers
Image caption,
Trading standards officers bought a shirt purportedly signed by footballer Wayne Rooney

Acting on a complaint, trading standards officers bought a signed Wayne Rooney Manchester United shirt costing £150.

Football memorabilia experts told the court they believed the signature was counterfeit.

The trial heard a significant number of unsigned shirts and fake "certificates of authenticity" were found at Mr Rennie's home in 2016.

The fraud helped to fund a "lavish lifestyle", including family holidays to Florida and luxury cars, trading standards said.

Lead investigator Neil Martin said the "deliberate and long-term fraud" had duped some customers into paying more than £700 for "worthless" items.

Rennie, of Stroud Close, was granted bail along with his wife, of Hamilton Close, ahead of the sentencing hearing.

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