Trading Standards officers have warned garment printers of the risks of illegally using trademarks after a case at Bradford Crown Court.

Five members of an extended Bradford family were this week ordered to pay back the proceeds of their “industrial-scale” screen-printing operation decorating counterfeit clothing and selling it online.

Using a number of eBay and Amazon user accounts in both their own and third-party names, they generated global counterfeit sales of £472,898.09 over a five-year period.

The trademarks breached included Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Motorhead, Ramones, Beyonce, 5 Seconds of Summer, Harry Potter, Ed Sheeran and Nirvana.

The case was brought by West Yorkshire Trading Standards following an investigation. At the court hearing on Tuesday (30 November) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, His Honour Judge Burn found the family had benefited by a total of £1,797,559.16 from their criminal enterprise.

He ordered the family to pay confiscation orders totalling £1,513,163.49 which represented the total of their available assets. The sum was split in varying amounts among the defendants, brothers Amar Choudry, Yasir Choudry and Qaisar Choudry of Duchy Crescent, Bradford, their brother Faisal Choudry of Duchy Drive and their brother-in-law Mudasar Alishan of Oakdale Drive, Shipley.

They were each sentenced in February 2019 at Bradford Crown Court for their offending, each receiving a two-year custodial sentence suspended for two years with a requirement to undertake 300 hours’ unpaid work.

Linda Davis, trading standards manager for West Yorkshire, said: “Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. It has a detrimental impact on the brand, consumers and the economy.

“Counterfeit traders undercut genuine retailers and the proceeds are often then used to fund organised crime. We will continue to robustly investigate and prosecute those who benefit from the theft of intellectual property. Those convicted of offences such as these can also expect to have their assets identified and confiscated.”

Councillor Pauleen Grahame, chair of the West Yorkshire joint services governance and audit sub-committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards, added: “This is a great result for Trading Standards following a long and complex investigation.

“Counterfeiting harms our economy and our communities. Some of the money recovered from this criminal operation will go back into investigating these types of crime in the future and ensure that the residents of West Yorkshire are protected.”

www.wyjs.org.uk