TWO men were caught with 4,500 counterfeit items in one of the largest seizures of its kind in Dorset, a court was told.

The pair were warned that they could be jailed after they admitted the offences at Weymouth Magistrates' Court.

Shafiq Hussain, of Thornfield Road, Birmingham, and Mohammed Asim Khan, of Washwood Heath Road, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to 10 separate charges of having counterfeit clothing, trainers and accessories at the Great Dorset Steam Fair in 2006.

Trading Standards regional manager Ivan Hancock told the court that around 4,500 items were seized from the traders.

He said this was the largest seizure in Dorset for some time.

The list of charges brought against the men included planning to sell:

  • 905 pairs of imitation Nike shoes
  • 110 pairs of imitation Evisu jeans
  • 63 pairs of imitation Lacoste trainers
  • a pair of imitation Prada shoes
  • imitation Timberland, Henri Lloyd and Crocodile clothing.

Mr Hancock said that trading standards officers spotted the stall at the steam fair on August 30, 2006 and suspected the goods were fake.

The court was told how Khan told officers that the goods were genuine and that they had been bought from a returns factory.

Hussain and Khan were arrested and trading standards seized goods from their stall, a smaller stall nearby, a van and a hire truck.

In a police interview the traders gave different versions of events but maintained that it was Khan who was in charge of the stall.

As part of the investigation the trademark holders of the big brands inspected the items and revealed they were counterfeit.

Magistrates were shown a selection of the fake goods for inspection.

Mr Hancock said the quality to the untrained eye was quite high so consumers would have been easily misled.

In mitigation, Gerard Lidgey said that both his clients had told trading standards of other offenders further up the chain who were in charge of the operation.

He said that Hussain and Khan were only getting paid £45 a day to run the stall.

Magistrate Paul Hopkins said that because of the seriousness of the offence the magistrates court would have to refer to the crown court for sentencing.

Both men were released on unconditional bail to reappear at Dorchester Crown Court on February 8.