Jocelyn Hunter of Willows Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire was convicted today at Swindon Crown Court of conspiracy to import and distribute counterfeit goods and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.
Had the goods been genuine, the high street retail value would be in excess of £2.7million.
Between July 2009 and December 2011, Hunter was involved in the importation, possession and distribution of counterfeit Procter & Gamble (P&G) products, specifically Oral B toothbrush heads and Gillette razor blades.
Hunter made contact with suppliers in China and acted as their agent in receiving the goods into the UK. She then sent them on to customers in mainland Europe.
She assumed that UK customs officers would be less vigilant than their counterparts in countries such as Germany, Italy, Lithuania or Poland; making it easier to receive counterfeit goods into the UK and then export them to Europe, rather than sending them directly to those countries from China. However, UK customs officers are extremely vigilant and routinely check packages, leading to seizures.
In order to evade detection Hunter used a number of addresses in the Swindon area to receive packages, including those of friends and family, as well as commercial premises which she rented between October 2009 and September 2011. She also used the name of the final customer as the addressee to avoid suspicion about the volume of mail arriving for her.
Parcels were traced from China to the UK and between 2nd May and 30th June 2011 some 248 parcels were received by Hunter.
Her operation was discovered when customs officers detained a consignment of goods at the Coventry Postal Hub and the brand holder, Proctor and Gamble, was informed.
The matter was passed to the South West Scambusters team which is a specialist regional enforcement team funded by National Trading Standards, and with the assistance of Wiltshire police she was arrested at her home address.
At the time of her arrest, a large box of counterfeit Oral B toothbrush heads was found in her living room.
HHJ Mosely QC said: “Your role was crucial in order to sell fake goods from China in Europe. What you did had the potential of undermining international trade.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “It is great news that this criminal has been brought to justice and I commend all parties involved, including the National Trading Standards South West Scambusters team.
“People are often lured in by the promise of a bargain but many counterfeit products, while they may look like the real thing, can be very low quality and in some cases unsafe. I would urge people to help National Trading Standards to catch these criminals by remaining vigilant and reporting any products they think may be counterfeit to their local trading standards office or Citizens Advice.”
For more general enquiries regarding the National Trading Standards Board please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail email@example.com.
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.