A Birmingham man has been sentenced today (23 August 2021) to four years imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court today after previously pleading guilty to 26 offences for manufacturing and selling fake designer clothes.
Inderjit Sangu (67), formerly of Sandwell Road, Birmingham, had previously pleaded guilty to 26 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
Mr Sangu - who owned a clothing manufacturing business in Park Road, in Hockley, Birmingham - was producing tens of thousands of counterfeit goods and distributing these to market stall and online sellers across the UK.
On 27 August 2019 - as part of Operation Beorma - officers from the National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team (RIT), Birmingham Trading Standards and West Midlands Police executed search warrants on Mr Sangu’s factory and home address.
Operation Beorma is an ongoing investigation led by the National Trading Standards RIT and Birmingham Trading Standards into organised crime groups involved in the importation, manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit goods.
Members of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (made up of brand representatives) examined the stock at the Hockley factory and confirmed they were counterfeit goods.
Trading Standards officers seized the fake designer clothing with a street value of approximately £500,000, as well as approximately 40,000 counterfeit branded clothing labels.
The fake designer labels seized by Trading Standards included brand names such as The North Face, Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Nike, Moncler, Versace, Givenchy, Stone Island, Super Dry, Prada, Lacoste and Canada Goose.
Three large industrial embroidery and sewing looms were found at the unit and there was clear evidence indicating counterfeit clothing being manufactured at the premises on a large scale.
In sentencing Mr Sangu, the judge, Mr Recorder Brandreth QC, told Mr Sangu that there had been ‘serious planning and pre-meditation’ in the counterfeiting operation as well as a ‘pattern of sophistication for which you are the leader’. He concluded by saying that ‘only a custodial sentence could be justified’.
Councillor Philip Davies, Chair of Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said:
“This was one of the largest operations ever to be disrupted in the city. People may think counterfeiting is a victimless crime, but it's not.
"Counterfeiting is often linked to organised crime, drugs, modern slavery and child labour. They are ripping off the consumers, legitimate businesses and Inland Revenue. Birmingham Trading Standards will do everything they can to disrupt these organised crime groups who are involved in this illicit business."
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of the National Trading Standards Board, said:
“Trading standards officers and other partners are tackling this criminal activity. Consumers risk being misled and parting with hard earned money to pay for fake products. We will continue to work together to disrupt the organised crime groups and clamp down on criminals who sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting members of the public. We urge people to be vigilant and report any examples of sales of counterfeit goods by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.”
Graham Mogg, Intelligence Co-ordinator for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, said:
The potential loss to industry was estimated at being more than £5 million.
Each of the 40,000 labels seized would have been used to create a counterfeit item. Whilst some may have been used to create a T-shirt that sold for between £40 and £50, others such as the counterfeit Canada Goose and Moncler labels would have been used to counterfeit clothing worth more than £1,000 per item.
A Proceeds of Crime Act case will follow later in the year.
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case please contact Phil Page of the National Trading Standards Central England Regional Investigations Team on 0121 464 5668.
For media enquiries please call 020 7101 5013 or email email@example.com.
About National Trading Standards
National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its Board is made up of senior and experienced heads of local government trading standards from around England and Wales with an independent Chair. Its purpose is to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses by tackling serious national and regional consumer protection issues and organised criminality.