An online trader caught with almost £40,000 worth of counterfeit motor parts for sale has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
East Sussex Trading Standards officers discovered the haul, which included spark plugs and fuel injector parts, in the living room of Istvan Lorincz’s home in George Street, Hailsham.
The 43-year-old had been selling the parts via internet auction sites to customers around the country, passing them off as products by well known, reputable manufacturers.
However, officers found he had been laser printing labels bearing registered trade marks of these companies at home and affixing them to cheaper, inferior products.
Lorincz admitted 25 breaches of the Trade Marks Act 1994, and was handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, in a hearing at Hove Crown Court on May 28.
Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council lead member for community and safety, said: “This unscrupulous individual was caught with counterfeit motor parts with a very high value.
“He was knowingly selling these items online to unsuspecting consumers and businesses around the country, to the detriment not just of the buyers, but of the manufacturers whose products he claimed to be offering and to genuine traders trying to make an honest living.
“This prosecution is a great result and testament to the hard work of our trading standards officers and should send out a strong message to anyone thinking about selling fake goods.”
Tests carried out on the items seized, which had a total value of £39,929, revealed they were of poor quality, and in some cases could have caused damage if fitted to car engines.
In addition to his suspended jail term, the offender was ordered to carry out 125 hours of unpaid work, while a forfeiture and destruction order was made for the bogus goods.
Meanwhile, trading standards has initiated proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which could enable it to recover assets and cash obtained by Lorincz through his criminal activities.