City of Wolverhampton Council's Trading Standards has been successful in winning a court case against a local counterfeiter selling illegal DVDs and CDs on Facebook.

Paul Evans, from Bilston, has been found guilty of the possession and selling of counterfeit CDs and DVDs under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Mr Evans received 200 hours community service and was ordered to pay the court costs of £2,262.  He is also to pay a victim surcharge of £85.

This success follows 'Operation Jasper' - a national trading standards project organised by the Trading Standards Ecrime Unit who reported Mr Evans' social media activity to City of Wolverhampton Council.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment said: "Trading Standards protect the public and legitimate traders from illegal copies of registered goods that are often of poor quality and undermine genuine business activity.

"Social media is becoming a popular way to sell fake goods - probably because counterfeiters think they will not be identified, which is simply not the case.

"Whilst I understand why people may be tempted to buy counterfeit goods, such sales are sometimes linked to a much more serious crime.

"Fraudsters selling illegal items do not care about the impact their actions have on customers, legitimate businesses, or the local economy.

"I'm pleased with this outcome and hope it sends out a message to such counterfeiters that we are watching, they will be found out, and action will be taken."

Trading Standards Officers, West Midlands Police and a representative from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) visited Mr Evans' property at Broadmeadow Green in Bilston and seized various items including computer equipment, discs, a volume of DVDs and CDs, paperwork and a mobile phone.

BPI made test purchases of DVDs and CDs from a Facebook account in the name of Paul Evans, a member of the Facebook group - 'Buy and Sell Bilston' - which were all found to be fake copies.

Fake CD copies included Beyoncé (Lemonade), Craig David (Following My Intuition), Dire Straits (Sultans of Swing), Now That's What I Call Drive Time and DVDs Ice Age (Collision Course), IT and Jason Bourne.

Over 49,000 illegal music and movie downloads were also found on Mr Evans' computer.

Mr Evans admitted to producing and selling illegal copies of CDs and DVDs as well as advertising on Facebook, though stating many of the films and music were for his own personal use.

However, many duplicate copies and evidence seized from his property indicated items were for sale.

  • released: Friday 12 January, 2018