York shop sold fake designer clothes – owner gets suspended jail sentence

‘Excellent outcome’ – council leader
23 Oct 2015 @ 7.47 pm
| News

A York shopkeeper who sold pirate clothing and jewellery from a city centre store has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Francis Kerr, aged 69, of Milan House, Eboracum Way, York, owns Miss Diva on Low Petergate. But many of the “designer” items he sold – including international brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton – were fake.

His downfall came after a customer complained to City of York Council trading standards that the shop was selling counterfeit clothing and jewellery.

This including Chanel earrings, Jack Daniel’s T-shirts and vests.

Spelling error

Miss Diva's mistakes
Miss Diva’s mistakes

When a trademark representative of Jack Daniel’s bought an item from the shop in August 2014, they discovered it infringed the company’s copyright – not least because the brand name was spelled incorrectly.

Trading standards officers were informed and they made test purchases later the same month.

Based on their findings, a search of the shop was carried out on 18 September. All items seized were confirmed to be counterfeit and involved infringement of six trade marks including Louis Vuitton and the Football Association (FA).

Trading standards prosecuted Kerr.

On September 23, Kerr pleaded guilty to 22 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and asked for a further 348 offences to be taken into consideration.

Kerr, who is the sole director of the shop’s parent company Miss Diva Too Ltd, was referred to York Crown Court for sentencing as well as to allow the start of proceedings to recover any proceeds of crime.

The court heard how he had been cautioned by City of York Trading Standards in 2012 when he was discovered selling counterfeit goods from his shop.

Flouted the law

Kerr was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months in relation to each charge, to run concurrently.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, York council’s executive member for culture, leisure and tourism, said:

Selling fake goods is not a victimless crime. Every pound spent on fake goods is money taken away from the legitimate economy which creates jobs and growth.

It also undermines the city’s reputation for selling quality products.

Mr Kerr was given a chance, but we will take firm action against anyone who deliberately flouts the law.

Cllr Ayre urged anyone concerned that they have bought counterfeit goods to contact trading standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline: 0345 4040506.