Trading Standards take action against Caithness counterfeiter
17th January 2019
Following a Highland Council Trading Standards investigation, Wick Sheriff Court has imposed a court order on a 42 year old local woman who was found to be selling counterfeit goods. The Order places stringent restrictions on her future conduct and any breach of it can lead to a hefty fine or imprisonment.
After a lengthy investigation into the selling of ‘designer fake goods' on Facebook a warrant was executed on Sarah Jane Farmer of Wick in May 2018. Farmer was caught in possession of 188 counterfeit items including handbags, football strips, clothing, and footwear, sunglasses, aftershave and perfume. The brand names attributed to the counterfeit items included Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, UGG, Chanel, Nike, Adidas, Gucci, North Face, Superdry, Calvin Klein, Fila, Sketcher, Tommy Hilfiger, Ellesse, Dolce & Gabbana, Rayban, Liverpool FC, Moncler and Van.
The total estimated High Street value of the seizure was over £30,000.
During the on-going Trading Standards investigation Farmer was found to be continuing to sell through social media. After a joint operation with Border Force, Farmer was stopped at Edinburgh Airport on 24th October 2018 and over 100 further counterfeit items were seized, with a High Street value of over £16,000.
An Enforcement Order under section 217 of the Enterprise Act 2002 was granted which prohibits Farmer from selling or having in her possession counterfeit goods. Further measures were granted which stipulate Ms Farmer requires to notify Highland Council Trading Standards if she is planning to fly to Turkey where she was buying the counterfeit goods. She is also required to advise Trading Standards what social media or online classified selling accounts she owns, operates or posts content upon. These were the channels she used to sell the fake items.
David MacKenzie, Highland Council's Trading Standards Manager, said:
"This type of crime undermines legitimate Highland businesses, deceives consumers and damages the interests of those who own the intellectual property rights of the trade marks which are been copied.
"We urge the public to show their support by not buying this illegal trade which is ultimately controlled at production level by serious criminals who fund terrorism, trafficking and slavery. Those who choose to supply fakes in the Highlands will be investigated and strongly dealt with."
If anyone has any information about the sale of counterfeit goods, they can let Trading Standards know anonymously online at the Highland Council website: www.highland.gov.uk/counterfeits
Farmer will be monitored for five years in which time if she breaches the conditions of the Enforcement Order she will be in contempt of court which would enable further proceedings to be taken against her. If a breach of the Enforcement Order is found - this could result in a heavy fine or a prison sentence.
Investment of an additional £1.5m for roads maintenance was approved as a priority area for the Council's revenue budget. The additional money will help to boost the annual budget for pothole repairs, clearing culverts, and bridge maintenance.
Tighter controls on what can be taken to the public recycling centres are set to save £300,000 over the next two financial years. This proposal introduces restrictions on construction and demolition waste brought to our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), limiting quantities to small amounts generated through minor DIY activities.
The main activities that the social enterprise groups currently carry out directly for Highland Council waste management are the servicing of re-use containers on our household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). These currently divert around 150 tonnes from 11 HWRCs.
Newstart Highland that took over Home Aid in Caithness is set to lose a £75,000 grant from 2019/20. The Highland council agreed the reduction at its budget meeting on 14th February 2019.
Planning and building warrant income is to be increased over 3 years as part of the Highland council 3 year budget plan. 2019/20 - £600,000 2020/21 - £328,000 2021/22 - £182,000 Total - £110,000,000 The current income target for planning and building control fees is £4.867m.
Savings of £610,000 are being asked from Highland Highlife in addition to inflationary pressures of £900,000 to be absorbed by the organisation. The arms length organisation has proved to be an outstanding success in the few years since it was floated by the council.
Highland councillors reluctantly agreed to range of increase charges under the community services part of the budget. Many of the charges reflect inflationary increases The total of £2.063 million will be rolled out as follows - 2019/20 - £771,000 2020/21 - £.636,000 2021/22 - £656,000 The split is as follows - Export licences for fish were included in the above figures but a change was agreed at the meeting that should make the saving in total.
Additional Income projected £216k of is projected for thenext three years - 2019/20 - £118,000 2020/21 - £58,000 2021/22 - £40,000 Through a proactive approach to lease extensions (with premiums) and increases in rental income the council will seek to maximise the performance of the industrial and investment portfolio, including selling off poor performing industrial sites and focusing investment on high performing, high rental sites and properties. Net income £2.776m - excludes income for the Housing Revenue Account and Inverness Common Good Fund.
The Highland council agrred to slash £258,000 from the budget for Early Years organisations for 2019/20 The current budget for Early Years' Grants is £458k per annum. This is primarily an area-based budget where partners are able to apply for funding for one-off grants.
Councillors today 14th February 2019 agreed to increase the price of school meals despite some councillors pointing out that previous increase last year resulted in reduced number taking the meals. Councillors have little room to help as they did in the past to basically subsidise meals.
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