Trader could have assets seized

DODGY furniture dealer Mark Lee is facing a further court hearing to confiscate his assets after receiving a 12-month supervision order.

DODGY furniture dealer Mark Lee is facing a further court hearing to confiscate his assets after receiving a 12-month supervision order.

Lee had admitted charges of fraud and money laundering before his latest sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court.

Although he was already nearly �5,000 out of pocket after being caught flogging potentially unsafe settees from the back of his van in Felixstowe, Suffolk police took him to court again.

This time it was not for breaking fire safety regulations, it was for selling fake leather sofas while telling people they were genuine leather.


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Suffolk trading standards officers, who carried out a joint operation codenamed Operation Hassle, said Lee's assets are currently frozen pending the confiscation hearing on May 8.

Last September the 54-year-old pleaded guilty to three offences under the Furniture and Furniture Fire Safety Regulations Act when he appeared before Ipswich magistrates.

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The charges were brought after the foam filling of some of the settees failed fire tests. In addition there was a lack of information as required by the furniture fire safety regulations and a lack of permanent fire labels on the items seized.

Magistrates fined Lee, of Neasham Road, Darlington, a total of �3,815 and ordered him to pay �1,000 costs.

The offences took place on June 15 and July 26.

Lee had been stopped by police in Felixstowe's High Street following reports that a man had been approaching people and offering to sell them furniture.

The van he was in contained nine items of furniture which were seized. Seven sofa did not have permanent labels attached to them and one of the two sent for testing failed the examination.

Lee had previously been prosecuted by North Yorkshire Trading Standards for an identical offence in January 2007, when he received a two-year conditional discharge.

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