A Leamington Spa trader who sold fake and electrically unsafe products online has been sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, ordered to do 280 hours of unpaid work, and has been disqualified from acting as a company director or otherwise in the management of a company for five years.
Sentencing took place at Warwick Crown Court on Monday 15th July 2019. Mr Bhupinder Sandhu (aged 34 of Moorhill Road, Whitnash), sole Director of Partek Trade Ltd had previously pleaded guilty to five charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994. He also admitted two offences of having in his possession for supply equipment which breached electrical safety regulations.
Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service began their investigation after receiving a complaint from a consumer related to the sale of suspected counterfeit goods by Partek Trade Ltd. Trading Standards Officers test purchased a Samsung Galaxy digitiser screen and a mobile travel charger from the trader’s website and sent the products to Samsung who confirmed they were counterfeit and electrically unsafe.
Officers then executed a search warrant at Mr Sandhu’s home address from where he ran his business and found more than 1300 fake products imported from China.
Amongst the products seized were fake Samsung phone chargers that were electrically unsafe and counterfeit replacement parts for mobile phones and tablets including screens, digitisers, batteries and back covers.
Fake mobile phone chargers that don’t meet EU and UK safety standards have been responsible for causing house fires and injuries.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“The producers of counterfeit electricals are not interested in ensuring their products are safe, only in making them as cheaply as they can and this leads to potentially dangerous products appearing in the UK.”
“I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards has taken this action to protect consumers.”
Warwickshire Trading Standards employed a Financial Investigator from Central Bedfordshire Council to examine the business. They discovered that Partek had a turnover that approached £2 million.
In addition to the suspended sentence and unpaid work order, Mr Sandhu was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £31,654 and £212,967 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
On sentencing Mr Sandhu, His Honour Judge Anthony Potter said that consumers expected their purchases to be genuine and that the evil of these offences was that it enabled those selling counterfeit goods to undercut genuine businesses selling licensed products.
In mitigation, Oliver Cooke representing Mr Sandhu said that this was not a company set up with the sole intention of trading in counterfeit parts and that his client was utterly ashamed.
More information about the work of trading standards is available on the Warwickshire website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards