South West Scambusters dismantle counterfeiting operation

Two men from Weston-super-Mare have been convicted of trading in counterfeit goods following a lengthy investigation that uncovered more than 10,000 counterfeit items.

In July 2012 officers from the South West Regional Trading Standards Enforcement Team (Scambusters) and the police executed search warrants under the Trade Marks Act at two units on a business estate in Weston-super-Mare. This followed an investigation by the National Trading Standards South West Scambusters Team and North Somerset Trading Standards. Each of the units contained large quantities of counterfeit, trademarked goods.

Approximately 10,000 items of clothing, footwear, electrical items, perfume, make-up, jewellery and sunglasses were also seized. A vast array of brands covering 39 trademarks were affected including Christian Dior, Tiffany, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gucci and Cartier to name but a few*. The value of the goods subject to the charges, if sold as genuine, was assessed at £270,598.

After being linked to the goods, both men were arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges on 13th March 2015. At yesterday’s hearing at Bristol Crown Court Darren Ward was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work. Timothy Tivney was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

Upon sentence QC HHJ Ford said “You had very large quantities of counterfeit items stored with a view to sale.”

During the search of one unit the officers discovered five containers of 500 Apcalis tablets and approximately 5000 Sildamax tablets. Samples of both types of tablet have revealed that they contain the active ingredients used in Viagra and Cialis. These are prescription-only medicines that carry essential safety warnings for patients, including contraindications advising the circumstances when they must not be taken. The unauthorised supply of these medicinesposes a major risk to health and can be fatal, potentially causing heart attacks, sudden cardiac death and strokes.

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

“I am delighted that the investigation by our Scambusters Team in the South West has led to these convictions. The counterfeit goods being peddled by these criminals ripped off consumers and undermined legitimate local businesses. Importantly, the medicines they were in possession of posed a major health risk and could have caused serious harm to unsuspecting victims. Consumer safety is a top priority for National Trading Standards and that is why these convictions are so important.”

John Jacobs, Senior Investigator with the south West Scambusters Team said:

“The sentences handed out today reflect the seriousness of the offending by Ward and Tivney. The public needs to be protected from criminals out to take their hard-earned money in payment for substandard goods, particularly if these goods can cause genuine harm. The court has reinforced this view with today’s sentences and I hope this will go a long way to deterring others from dealing in counterfeit – often dangerous – goods”.


For enquiries regarding National Trading Standards d please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail

*A vast array of brands were affected including Christian Dior, Tiffany, Abercrombie & Fitch, Vans, Adidas, DKNY, Lacoste, Chanel, Thomas Sabo, Ugg, Calvin Klein, Gucci and Cartier. Approximately 10,000 items were seized covering 39 trademarks. Many of the goods within each unit were of an exactly similar type, namely: J’Adore perfume, Tiffany Jewellery, Vans shoes, Adidas trainers, Hermes purses, Louis Vuitton Socks, Jo Malone cosmetics, Mac make-up, GHD hair straighteners, Boss Orange shoes, Boss socks, Chanel sunglasses, Links of London boxes, Superdry tops and D & G socks.

Notes to Editors

About the National Trading Standards Board

The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.

The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

The National Trading Standards Board funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:

Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)

North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)

Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)

Trading Standards North West (TSNW)

Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)

Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)

Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and

Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)

There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.