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Natalie Green of Prestwood Drive, Collier Row, Essex, appeared at Barkingside Magistrates Court on 7th November 2019, charged with six (6) offences of selling counterfeit goods and possessing counterfeit goods for sale, Contrary to Section 92 of The Trademarks Act 1994. She pleaded guilty to all matters.

She was sentenced to a 12 Month Community Order with a requirement to undertake 140 Hours Unpaid Work. The court ordered her to pay £3,676.42 towards the prosecution investigation costs. An order was made for the destruction of all goods seized throughout the operation.

The prosecution was brought by TM Eye as a private criminal prosecution on behalf of its clients MULBERRY, HUGO BOSS and another well known luxury goods brand.

Natalie Green operated an online shop selling fake goods from a wide variety of luxury goods brands and also attended car boot sales across Essex selling similar counterfeit items. She took payment via a PAYPAL account or cash at markets.

The prosecution and conviction follows a 3-month investigation by the TM Eye Illicit Luxury Goods Team supported by their Dedicated Undercover Unit and the TM Eye Surveillance Team. Green was identified selling fake goods at the Bonzer Car Boot Sale at Whalebone Lane, Essex. A series of covert test purchases were then carried out on 2nd August 2019, 4th August 2019, 18th August 2019 and the 11th September 2019. A male suspect was also evidenced selling fake goods from the stall on behalf of Green on other dates. Every test purchase was covertly filmed and formed the evidence leading to the conviction.

Green had previously been prosecuted by TM Eye for infringement of trademark offences when she was subjected to test purchases online, via her Facebook account ‘Somethink Special’. 

On 21st September 2018, she had appeared at Barkingside Magistrates Court where she was sentenced to a fine of £276.00 and required to pay a victim surcharge of £30.00, An order towards prosecution costs was made in the sum of £1000.00. (TM Eye Op 1831 refers).

Following this prosecution TM Eye were made aware that Natalie Green was continuing to sell via Facebook and at Car Boot Sales and commenced this new operation.

TM Director David McKelvey said, “Natalie Green was a prolific offender who even though convicted a year ago decided that she was above the law and would continue to commit crime. As soon as TM Eye were aware we commenced another covert operation tackle this criminality. Green is fortunate not to be going to prison today and the sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime.

TM Eye have now convicted over 500 criminals in private criminal prosecutions and have a 100% conviction rate. 13% of those convicted receive custodial sentences”.

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TM Eye detectives, working on behalf of Japanese Tobacco International (JTI), have today served criminal summons on three Chinese nationals living in Sheffield for Conspiracy to Distribute and Supply counterfeit tobacco products and packaging contrary to Section 1 of The Criminal Law Act 1977.

The prosecution follows a substantial UK wide surveillance operation by TM Eye’s Illicit Tobacco Team and the TM Eye Surveillance Team in September and October 2019. Four premises in Sheffield were searched on 1st October 2019, by Humberside and Yorkshire Regional Organised Crime Unit and officers from Operation Fortify (South Yorkshire Organised Crime Unit). A working tobacco factory was found that was turning raw leaf tobacco into cut tobacco for illicit Fulfillment Houses across the UK. Within the Fulfillment Houses other gang members filled counterfeit tobacco pouches with the cut tobacco. These were then sold in wholesale quantities. The revenue loss is significant.

A linked Fulfillment House in St Loys Road, Tottenham in North London was raided by the Metropolitan Police and TM Eye detectives at the same time as the Sheffield raids. A large number of fake cigarettes, counterfeit filled and empty tobacco pouches, raw tobacco and ancillary products for manufacturing and distributing counterfeit tobacco products were recovered. The loss to H.M Revenue and Customs of seized goods from this single Fulfillment House was GBP 18.8 million.

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The three defendants will appear at Sheffield Magistrates Court one 17th December 2019.

TM Eye’s investigation into the criminal network continues.