Fake Man United and Liverpool shirts made conman £50k

A man who made more than £50,000 importing fake Manchester United and Liverpool shirts from Thailand and selling them online has been given a suspended sentence.

Timothy Craig, 32, was found out after fans who bought the shirts complained to trading standards officials.

Craig, of Wall Street, Plymouth, Devon, admitted 11 trademark offences.

He was given a four month sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

Exeter Crown Court heard Craig set up a number of websites, obtained the shirts for £10 to £12 from Thailand and sold them for £27 to £36.

Home raided

The court heard at one stage in his scheme he made £34,000 in three months.

Fans and parents who bought the Liverpool and Manchester United shirts realised they were cheap fakes and complained to trading standards.

When officials raided Craig's then home on the edge of Dartmoor they found a stock of shirts and a holdall with £2,800 cash in his loft.

Records on Craig's computer showed he carried on his business after the raid and made a total profit of more than £50,000, the court was told.

Judge Barry Cotter, QC, who ordered the forfeiture of Craig's realisable assets of £8,471, told him: "Economic theft of this sort not only acts against the true owners of the brands but strikes at consumer confidence.

"There was real loss to real people."

Nigel Hall, defending, said Craig had not realised that he was committing a serious criminal offence.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites