Lancashire Trading Standards has secured a three-and-a-half year jail sentence for a fraudster who pocketed more than £1m creating counterfeit posters.
Adam Jeffreys (41) of Colne in Lancashire was sentenced on 19 December 2023 at Preston Crown Court for offences of infringing copyright and registered trademarks and fraudulent trading between 2014 and 2021. During that period Jeffreys sold tens of thousands of counterfeit posters.
His activities came to an abrupt halt in November 2021 when Lancashire Trading Standards Officers executed a warrant at his home. They discovered a large commercial printer and posters packaged and ready to be sent out, as well as a hard drive containing many thousands of copyrighted images, including James Bond, Harry Potter and Batman as well as famous names in football, TV and music.
Jeffreys, who is believed to have made more than 150,000 sales in the UK and Germany under the names of ‘Plymouth Trading Co’, ‘Plakat Welt’ and ‘Poster Station’, tried to convince the court that he had not realised he was doing anything wrong. But his claims were rebutted when it was demonstrated that he had faked invoices and sent fictitious emails in a bid to show his posters were legitimate.
It also emerged that, throughout his offending, Jeffreys had a day job with a leading UK poster manufacturer, who were unaware of his illegal trading. He even blamed a relative for making a malicious complaint against him when his activities came to light.
Nick McNamara from Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards service said: “This is the longest ever prison sentence imposed in a case brought by our Trading Standards team, whose hard work and dedication was vital in bringing this offender to book.
“Legitimate businesses work hard to build brand awareness and have a right to be protected from pirates who steal their intellectual property rights. As well as a lengthy jail term, Jeffreys faces action that will see him stripped of his assets and his luxury lifestyle on his release.”
Sentencing Jeffreys to 43 months’ imprisonment, His Honour Judge Jeffries KC described him as “a liar, who had operated with a brazen disregard for licensing and trade mark laws.” The Judge said he was satisfied that Jeffreys had made a clear profit of £1m from sales totalling £1,819,783.18.
Proceedings are adjourned to 22 March for financial inquiries to be carried out.