Counterfeit goods go up in flames after court case

SPONGE Bob Square pants and Hannah Montana items were among the counterfeit goods being sold at an Ipswich market stall, a court has heard.

SPONGE Bob Square pants and Hannah Montana items were among the counterfeit goods being sold at an Ipswich market stall, a court has heard.

Cushions, towels, fleece blankets and other items aimed at young children were seized by trading standards officers from a stall run by Jason Gold last year.

The 41-year-old appeared was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to possessing and selling goods bearing a false trade mark.

The court heard how the father-of-three, of Whitmore Way, Basildon, had been arrested after undercover trading standards officers from Suffolk County Council purchased four items from Gold's stall on the Cornhill on July 18 2008.

Following the sale officers sent the items to the trade mark holders who confirmed the goods were fakes.

A second visit was made by trading standards to Gold's stall on September, 5 2008, this time in the presence of police officers.

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It revealed a number of further items displayed for sale and boxed up under the counter, that subsequently were confirmed as counterfeits.

Laura Thomas prosecuting on behalf of Suffolk County Council said Gold was also found to be selling cushions that fell short of safety regulations, bursting into flames when tested.

Ms Thomas said Gold had previously been warned by trading standards officers on June, 20 2008 about selling counterfeit items on a market stall in Colchester.

Defending Jamie Sharma said his client, who was facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, accepted he had failed to ensure the items he was selling were genuine.

Sentencing Judge Peter Fenn subjected Gold to a 12 month community order with the condition he undertakes 25 days education and training for employment and is supervised by the probation service for the duration of the order.

Addressing Gold, Judge Fenn said: “If you are ever convicted of selling or being involved in the selling of counterfeit goods again expect a custodial sentence.”

Fair trading officer Sasha Watson said the sentence was a fair one. She said: “I was never expecting a huge sentence, we were disappointed at the lack of costs and that no fine was imposed, but it was fair for the crime of not taking the reasonable steps to ensure the goods were genuine.”

COUNTERFEIT goods seized from Ipswich market were potential dangerous - as shown at the town's Princes Street fire station shortly after the case.

Some of the cushions seized from Gold's stall were set alight - and immediately went up in flames.

“This clearly showed the danger you can be in from counterfeit goods - and given that they were designed to appeal to children this was a very worrying demonstration,” said Ms Watson.

“We would advise people to look very carefully at goods like this - they featured Disney and other characters which are known as premium brands, and if they are sold very cheaply they could well be counterfeit.”