Barry Downs caught selling fake Remembrance Day poppies

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Image source, Durham County Council
Image caption,
Barry Downs was caught selling the fake poppies by Durham County Council's trading standards officers

A trader has been ordered to complete unpaid work after being caught selling fake poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.

Barry Downs sold brooches for £2.99 each from a stall on Stanley Market, Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court heard.

The 64-year-old had no connection to the Royal British Legion for whom poppy sales raise money

Downs, of Coltspool, Kibblesworth, apologised as he left court after admitting seven trademark offences.

Following up complaints, Durham County Council trading standards officers found 287 brooches on his stall and a further 182 in his car on 2 November 2017.

Downs, who has had 30 years experience on the market, was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £950 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Image source, Durham County Council
Image caption,
Barry Downs was selling the poppy brooches for £2.99

As he left court with his face partly hidden by his hood, Downs said: "I apologise profusely, it happened unintentionally.

"If I had realised I would not have got involved with it."

In an interview with officers, he confirmed he was selling the poppies for profit but believed it was legal as they were widely available on the internet.

Bill Davison, defending, said Downs did not make enough inquiries about the copyright on some of the items he was selling, but he was not involved in a "national scam".

Mr Davison said, the shape of the poppies was "breach of copyright" and it was "unfortunate it is poppies, which is a worthwhile charitable cause".

After the case, Peter Milne, community fundraiser for the Royal British Legion in County Durham, said money given to "unscrupulous traders" simply "deprives" the charity of the opportunity to "help and support the armed forces community".

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