Jewellery purporting to be from prestigious brands such as Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Dior were among more than 280 counterfeit items seized by Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards from a single retailer, Himalaya Fashion Enterprises Ltd.
Himalaya Fashion Enterprises Ltd and company director Mohamad Hakimi were also fined almost £7,000 when both parties were sentenced for trademark and safety offences at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court on Friday 4 May 2018.
Trading Standards officers first visited Himalaya Fashion at 47 Sherborne Street, in the Strangeways area of Manchester, on 1 March 2017. The visit followed a referral from another local authority regarding unsafe jewellery.
During the visit 284 items of jewellery were seized as they were suspected of being counterfeit. Samples were sent to the relevant trade mark representatives and it was confirmed they were fakes – it is estimated that if the goods had been genuine they would have been worth more than £55,000.
Following a second referral, from a different local authority, Trading Standards officers carried out another visit to the premises on 25 May 2017. During this visit 2,136 fidget spinners were removed as they were incorrectly labelled.
Further testing revealed the fidget spinners did not meet the requirements of the Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011. A quantity of the fidget spinners failed as the button-cell battery was accessible without the use of a tool posing a major risk to a child should they ingest the battery.
Although a child may not choke, if undetected the batteries can do serious damage to the gastrointestinal system. When combined with saliva, the electrical current from the battery produces caustic soda that burns through the throat or stomach and can cause further damage to other internal organs.
The case was heard at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court on 12th April 2018 where the company and the director pleaded guilty to all offences.
It was adjourned until 4th May 2018 where Himalaya Fashions Enterprise Ltd was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,433 with a victim surcharge of £300.
Company director Mohamad Hakimi was ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay costs of £1,000 with a surcharge of £85.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “Supplying counterfeit goods may seem trivial with the only victims being large faceless companies – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Fake goods tend to be substandard and in the most serious cases be unsafe too.
“Add to that the fact that the proceeds of this illegal trade often go on to fund other illegal activity and I would advise everyone to steer clear of counterfeit items.
“You may think you’re getting a bargain but ultimately you could be putting your loved ones at risk.”