Banbury woman avoids jail for fake football memorabilia fraud

  • Published
items seized by trading standardsImage source, Dorset Trading Standards
Image caption,
Certificates and signed footballs were among items seized by trading standards officers

A woman has been given a suspended sentence for her part in a scam selling fake signed football memorabilia.

Clare Rennie, 45, and her husband David from Banbury, Oxfordshire, sold 4,500 "signed" shirts, balls and boots to online customers.

She was given a two-year suspended sentence after admitting fraud and money laundering at a previous hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Investigators estimated he had made £1m over nine years.

The court heard the now-estranged couple sold shirts, balls and boots, bearing "signatures" of the game's biggest stars to online customers around the world.

Dorset Trading Standards prosecuted the couple after buying items from their website, FA Premier Signings.

Image source, Dorset Trading Standards
Image caption,
Clare Rennie was given a two year suspended sentence after admitting fraud and money laundering

It sold football paraphernalia purportedly signed by famous footballers including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.

The couple were charged with participating in a fraudulent business as a sole trader and money laundering.

Acting on a complaint, trading standards officers obtained what was claimed to be a signed Wayne Rooney Manchester United shirt costing £150.

It was shown to the former England captain who confirmed it was not his signature.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The couple claimed to have signed merchandise by the world's top footballers, including Wayne Rooney

The fraud helped to fund a "lavish lifestyle", including family holidays to Florida and luxury cars, trading standards said.

Lead investigator Neil Martin said the "deliberate and long-term fraud" had duped some customers into paying more than £700 for "worthless" items.

Rennie, of Appleby Close, Banbury, was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Image source, FA Premier Signings / Facebook
Image caption,
The Rennies' website sold fake signed squad shirts for more than £700

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