Dodgy trader fined for bling ‘bargain’ sale

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A DODGY trader has been fined after she was caught selling hundreds of pieces of fake designer jewellery, watches and handbags for as little as a fiver.

Trading Standards officers swooped on her stall, which claimed to offer popular brands including Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Juicy Couture, to find goods that would be worth more than £120,000 if genuine.

Instead, Olive Taylor, 40, from Kent, was offering up the haul at the Royal Highland Centre’s Antiques and Collectors Fair for knockdown prices, mostly between £5 and £20.

The first-time offender was fined £800 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after admitting the crime but some politicians today slammed the sentence as lenient.

Officers visited the stall last May to find more than 900 items which included fake, low-quality versions of 15 popular names, including Tiffany, Vivienne Westwood, Cartier, Links of London, Rolex and Juicy Couture.

All the dodgy goods, which included bracelets, necklaces, hair clips, watches and earrings, were seized by the council and destroyed.

In the past year there have been nine other discoveries of counterfeit products but bosses said the latest seizure was by far the largest.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, environment leader, said: “This seizure sends a clear message to people selling counterfeit goods that our Trading Standards officers will not hesitate to take them to court.

“Buying counterfeit goods often helps fund organised crime.

“People often use the phrase ‘it’s too good to be true’. Well if you see something with a designer label and it looks like a bargain, think twice before purchasing it.”

Lothians MSPs, however, questioned the sentence.

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: “I’ll be asking the Scottish Government if they think this was an appropriate sentence given the level of goods involved.

“People have a right to be confident that goods are what they say on the label.”

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown added that lenient sentences risked undermining confidence in the courts. He said: “It is important that the punishment is proportionate to the crime.”

Ms Taylor, who pleaded guilty to the offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994, was sentenced on March 6.

ROCK BOTTOM

Links of London bracelet: Retail price circa £230. Knock-off price £45.

Tiffany bracelet: Retail price circa £275. Knock-off price £10.

Chanel charm bracelet: Retail price circa £500. Knock-off price £10.

Juicy Couture bangle: Retail price circa £40. Knock-off price £10.

Ladies Rolex watch: Retail price circa £2500. Knock-off price £100.

Links of London bracelet: Retail price circa £200. Knock-off price £10.