A trading standards investigation has resulted in a Birmingham man being jailed for four years for manufacturing and selling fake designer clothes.
Inderjit Sangu, who owned a clothing manufacturing business in Hockley, Birmingham, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on August 23, having previously pleaded guilty to 26 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
His business had produced tens of thousands of counterfeit goods and distributed them to market stall and online sellers across the UK.
On August 27 2019, officers from the National Trading Standards (NTS) Regional Investigation Team (RIT), Birmingham Trading Standards and West Midlands Police executed search warrants on Sangu’s factory and home address.
The raids were carried out as part of Operation Beorma, an ongoing investigation led by the NTS RIT and Birmingham Trading Standards into links between organised crime groups and counterfeit goods.
Trading standards officers seized fake designer clothing with a street value of approximately £500,000, as well as approximately 40,000 counterfeit branded clothing labels. The fake designer labels included brand names such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Nike, Moncler, Versace, Givenchy, Prada and Lacoste.
Three large industrial embroidery and sewing looms were found at the unit and there was clear evidence that counterfeit clothing was being manufactured at the premises on a large scale.
During sentencing, the judge noted there had been “serious planning and pre-meditation” in the counterfeiting operation. He concluded by saying that ‘only a custodial sentence could be justified’.
Councillor Philip Davies, Chair of Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This was one of the largest operations ever to be disrupted in the city. People may think counterfeiting is a victimless crime, but it’s not.
“Counterfeiting is often linked to organised crime, drugs, modern slavery and child labour. They are ripping off the consumers, legitimate businesses and Inland Revenue. Birmingham Trading Standards will do everything they can to disrupt these organised crime groups who are involved in this illicit business.”
Graham Mogg, Intelligence Co-ordinator for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, said:
The potential loss to industry was estimated at being more than £5m. Each of the 40,000 labels seized would have been used to create a counterfeit item.”
A Proceeds of Crime Act case will follow later in the year.