Market trader avoids jail for JLS and Justin Bieber counterfeits

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A MARKET trader has narrowly escaped jail after he was caught selling counterfeit clothing in Central Milton Keynes market.

Harkesh Kumar, from Birmingham, appeared before Milton Keynes magistrates on Friday to plead guilty to selling counterfeit goods, following a case brought by Milton Keynes Council’s trading standards service.

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He admitted two offences of selling counterfeit clothing and a further 10 offences of possessing counterfeit clothes for sale in the course of his business.

He was sentenced to four weeks, reduced from 6 weeks due to his guilty plea, imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

Magistrates also made him subject to an unpaid work order of 100 hours. He was also ordered to pay £2,008.72 prosecution costs.

The court heard that during July 2011 the pop group ‘JLS’ performed a concert at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

Prior to this concert, trading standards received a request from trade mark holders to be on the look out for counterfeit ‘JLS’ branded goods. As a result trading standards discovered ‘JLS’ clothing being displayed for sale on a market stall in the Central Milton Keynes market.

Officers carried out two test purchases from Mr Kumar, of a ‘JLS’ and a ‘Justin Bieber’ ‘T’ Shirt. Both items were sent to the trade mark holders for examination and both were confirmed as counterfeit.

As a result trading standard officers seized over 490 suspect counterfeit items from his stall, including a further 22 items of ‘JLS’ and 13 items of ‘Justin Bieber’ branded clothing. Samples of Evisu, Echo, Levi (belt), Ed Hardy, Nike and 50 Cent jewellery and clothing were sent for examination and confirmed as counterfeit.

The magistrates remarked that the case was serious, given the variety and number of items seized.

Karen Ford, Head of Trading Standards for Milton Keynes Council, said: “Our investigation sends a clear message that we are here to protect not just the residents of Milton Keynes from buying fakes but also our legitimate traders from unfair competition such as this.”