A Kingswood man who sold 179 pairs of counterfeit branded trainers online over the course of a year has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
Tobi Akinsola, 27, of New Cheltenham Road in Kingswood, was found guilty by jury on 27 February following a two day trial during which he protested his innocence to five charges under the Trade Marks Act for selling and possessing for sale the counterfeit footwear.
As well as being ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, Akinsola (who returned to court for sentencing on Friday 29 March) was also told that he will be subject to proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act which could result in him having to pay back the £8,630 he generated from his enterprise.
The case was pursued by South Gloucestershire Trading Standards following receipt of a complaint that Akinsola was selling counterfeit trainers via eBay. Officers liaised with brand representatives from two global manufacturers after it was established that he was selling counterfeit copies of their trainers through the website.
A test purchase of a pair trainers costing £53.98 from Akinsola took place in January 2018 and the trainers were confirmed as counterfeit. Akinsola’s home address was subsequently raided by South Gloucestershire Council’s Trading Standards team and Police officers, and a quantity of suspected counterfeit items were seized.
Paypal records were also obtained which indicated Akinsola had sold a total of 179 pairs of the counterfeit branded trainers between January 2017 and January 2018, generating a total of £8,630.15.
In court, it was established that Akinsola had failed to heed warnings from customers that he was selling counterfeit trainers. Instead he continued to sell trainers from the same suppliers he used in China and did not take sufficient steps to ensure their authenticity.
Upon sentencing, the judge said there was an element of naivety and immaturity to Akinsola’s actions in selling the footwear. He branded him a “dishonest trader” whose actions were not entrepreneurial in the slightest as he was buying obviously fake goods to sell to online customers who he “fleeced”.
Akinsola was made subject to a forfeiture order in relation to the counterfeit footwear seized from his address and he was also warned that he should expect to lose out financially as a result of further action ongoing against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Mark Pullin, Strong, Safer Communities Manager at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “The sale of counterfeit goods not only harms the original manufacturer, but often also means that the purchaser receives low quality goods that have not been subject to the same tests and standards as the official items.
“The Trade Marks Act 1994 covers offences for businesses selling and possessing for sale counterfeit goods, and the maximum punishment for a conviction is 10 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
“Anyone who suspects they may have been sold counterfeit goods is urged to report it to Trading Standards by calling 03454 04 05 06.”