A WEST Wales couple who sold counterfeit clothing and fragrances including Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, and Givenchy on local social media have been fined after a council trading standards investigation.

If the counterfeit goods were legitimate they would have been worth more than £8,000.

Peter Hinchen, 54, and Sharon Hopkins, 38, of Rhydlewis, Ceredigion appeared before Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on April 30, where the pair pleaded guilty to four offences under the Trademarks Act 1994.

The bench heard how officers from the Public Protection service observed allegedly counterfeit tracksuits, trainers, watches, jackets, and perfumes on local online marketplaces being advertised for sale by the pair. 

After a December 2021 search at their home, officers seized 65 items of clothing, 19 pairs of trainers, four watches and 13 bottles of fragrance, which were later confirmed as counterfeit by the trademark representatives for Nike, Adidas, The North Face, Ralph Lauren, POLO, Givenchy, Chelsea, Ben10, and Emporio Armani.

The couple were charged with jointly possessing and exposing for sale the counterfeit goods, but initially denied this when interviewed.

The court was told that if the items had been authentic, their genuine retail value would have been £8,240.

Magistrates also heard that some of the clothing was for children and did not meet British safety standards, due to the drawstring chords posing a choking hazard.

Cabinet Member for Public Protection Councillor Matthew Vaux warned residents to avoid sellers of counterfeit goods.

“Counterfeit goods do not meet the stringent safety requirements required of legitimate goods; they do not undergo any quality or safety testing, and consumers will not know how or where they are made. Not only do counterfeit goods pose a risk to buyers, they also undermine legitimate commerce in the county and further afield.”

Hinchen and Hopkins’ defence argued the duo had obtained the goods from an undisclosed man in Llanelli to sell, but were only seeking to make a gain themselves by means of receiving free clothing for their children.

Magistrates fined each of the defendants £434 and granted a forfeiture and destruction order on the seized goods.