South East Wales

eBay fake make-up sales: James Jones and David Foster sentenced

Two men have been sentenced for selling counterfeit make-up, with goods seized including mascara with 20 times the safe level of lead.

James Jones, 32, and David Foster, 26, from Merthyr Tydfil, sold fake cosmetics and toothbrushes online.

Foster was given a community order and Jones a 16-week suspended sentence at Merthyr Crown Court for selling goods via the eBay website.

Powys council trading standards led the investigation.

After the hearing, Clive Jones, the council's principal trading standards officer, said: "We have noticed that there's a tendency for some people to be tempted to import large quantities of products from wholesale auction sites in the Far East, and our investigations have highlighted that some of these supply chains involve counterfeit goods.

"What we encounter is individuals solely looking at profit, with no experience in the product they are importing, no knowledge of legitimate supply chains or the original product or concern about the safety of the product they are selling, and who don't care about what effect it has on legitimate trade."

Mr Jones said surveillance on illegal activity regarding counterfeiting was increasing in Powys.

"We will stamp these practices out through education and enforcement," he said.

Image caption The "false lash effect" mascara proved to be counterfeit

Jones pleaded guilty to three charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and Product Safety Regulations for selling counterfeit make-up with safety breaches and for running a fraudulent business under The Fraud Act 2006.

He was given a 16-week suspended sentence, ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and given a 200-hour community order.

Foster pleaded guilty to two charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and for running a fraudulent business under The Fraud Act 2006.

Foster was given a 120-hour community order and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs.

'Little regard'

The council said an internet investigation was conducted by staff from trading standards.

Warrants were executed in June last year following various test purchases from an online auction website run by Foster, and which were confirmed to be counterfeit.

Further investigation led to an account registered to Jones which had sold upwards of £7,000 worth of identical products over a five-month period.

A selection of products seized from Jones's property was also sent away for scientific safety testing.

Of the products sent for analysis, one was found to contain 440 mg/kg of lead, over 20 times the level of lead deemed safe.

Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Powys council cabinet member for environment and regulation, said: "We support legitimate businesses and local tax payers by targeting illegal shadow economy activities such as product counterfeiting by individuals, who have little regard to the county's traders and only seek to further destabilise our economy."

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