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Trading standards officers secure prosecution of fraudsters

6 March 2023

Trading standards officers secure prosecution of fraudsters Cheshire East Council’s trading standards officers have secured a successful prosecution against two sellers who profited by trading counterfeit goods on eBay.

Carol Wood, 63, and Robert Stokes, 59, of Eastgate, Macclesfield, sold fake Abercrombie & Fitch products, Pandora and Disney-branded jewellery and Hollister clothing for eight years on eBay from 2009 to 2017.

Both pleaded guilty in court to running a fraudulent business called Home Delights. Wood admitted four further counts of unauthorised use of a trademark, while Stokes pleaded guilty to two further counts of the same offence.

Wood admitted running an eBay account for the business and making more than 13,000 transactions of counterfeit clothing and counterfeit jewellery totalling more than £400,000. Stokes admitted being involved in the sourcing and supply of some of the Pandora and Disney charms.

Nearly 500 items of counterfeit goods were seized from their home address in July 2017. Wood and Stokes both admitted to being in possession of counterfeit goods with a view to selling the Pandora charms. 

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee said: “I would like to congratulate the trading standards officers who worked hard to bring these two to justice. 

“These successful prosecutions send out an important message to anyone who thinks even for one moment that fraud might pay. Working with the police, we will always work hard to protect our residents from crime.”

In sentencing, Recorder Eric Lamb said that the culpability of the pair’s offending was deemed high, due to the sourcing from manufacturers in China, which ensured that they received good quality fakes. He added that the trading of the eBay account had been longstanding and the expectation of financial gain was significant. 

Wood was jailed for 30 months. Stokes was given a 16-month suspended sentence, suspended for 18 months, at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 21 February. Stokes must also complete 15 rehabilitation days as part of his sentence.