Trader sold fake Black Cats collectables

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A MARKET trader has been fined for selling fake football memorabilia.

Stephen Richardson sold pictures, mirrors and clocks adorned with club logos and rosettes, including Sunderland AFC, from his stall in the city’s Park Lane Market.

Trading Standards officers swooped on his pitch, which he had held for 10 years, and took away 54 suspect items in 2009, with 28 found to be fakes,

Richardson denied nine trademark offences at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, but was convicted after a trial.

The 50-year-old, of Tunbridge Road, Thorney Close, claimed he bought the goods – including Playboy mirrors and framed posters – in good faith from a firm in Manchester.

The branding of Playboy and Premier League football clubs are registered trademarks and can only be sold under licence.

Prosecuting for Sunderland Council, Michelle Irving said it was Richardson’s responsibility as a seller of trademarked items to check they were genuine.

Richardson said JD Picture Frames director Amir Naser assured him all the copyrighted logos he sold were licensed, but admitted he did not check them out himself.

“It was a massive warehouse so we did not think anything of it. He (Mr Naser) said anything on the shelves was a licensed product.

“I might not have checked them, but I bought them from JD Pictures.”

But Mr Naser denied ever stocking the fakes, and said he did not sell SAFC items

“I don’t have so many customers who were from Sunderland,” he added.

“Customers buy empty frames off me and I would never ask them what they want to put in them.”

Defence solicitor Angus Westgarth said it was difficult for a trader to check each supplier and every supply.

He added: “This defendant, who is without any previous convictions, has done all that was reasonable within his power at the time of purchase.”

District Judge Roger Elsey said it was “clear” the haul of fakes had been bought from JD Picture Frames, but that was not a defence to the crime.

“The defendant turned a blind eye to the obvious fact that these were counterfeit goods.

“Customers have to know they can have confidence that they are only buying legitimate goods.

“Traders in counterfeit goods have to be punished, to deter them from selling counterfeit goods in the future and to deter other traders in counterfeit goods.”

Richardson was fined £200 and ordered to pay £600 court costs.

Twitter: @janethejourno