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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Geoffrey Bennett

Kingswood couple who openly traded in fake designer goods handed suspended jail terms

A cottage industry selling fake designer gear netted a Kingswood couple some £200,000 a court heard. Michael and Michelle Guy did not pretend the knock-off goods they sourced from a shop in Manchester were the genuine article.

Bristol Crown Court heard that, over four years, they sold goods from their Clothing For All Facebook group which had £5,700 members. Though they were earning thousands of pounds a month they have blown all the money, the court was told.

Michael Guy, 48, and cleaner Michelle Guy, 54, of Douglas Road, both pleaded guilty to 22 counts of unauthorised use of a trade mark between 2017 and 2021.

READ MORE: Fraudsters banged up in Bristol

Judge Martin Picton handed each two years' prison, suspended for two years. He also told them to each do 200 hours' unpaid work and each pay £1,000 prosecution costs.

The judge told them: "You both ran a Facebook group trading in counterfeit goods. You knew what you were doing, you didn't pretend they were legitimate items.

"The customers knew they were purchasing counterfeit goods. You made profit over four years and you blew it."

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said a South Gloucestershire Trading Standards investigation was launched after a complaint was made that the Guys' were trading. The investigation looked at the Facebook group and established the couple as administrators.

Mr Lee said investigators joined the group and made test purchases. These included a £35 designer handbag and £20 Superdry garment which were obviously counterfeit, the court heard.

A search warrant at the couple's home revealed counterfeit items labelled for collection or posting. Mr Lee said the couple had been sourcing items from a shop in Manchester and telephone evidence showed evidence of trading. When the couple was interviewed they declined to comment.

Susan Cavender, defending Michelle Guy, said: "She did not know what she was doing was wrong. She didn't appreciate the potential seriousness of what she was doing.

"They would go to a shop in Manchester which appeared to be selling openly. They were able to buy from the shop.

"They didn't realise the seriousness of what they were doing or the penalties for doing it. They were selling at knock-off prices. They never pretended what they were selling was genuine."

Mandla Ndlovu, defending Michael Guy, echoed Ms Cavender's comments. He said the couple paid little attention to the retail value of genuine goods, selling a pair of Dior shorts for £5.50 - which he said was "a mark down in price of 8,000 per cent".

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