Trader jailed for making fake Premier League souvenirs

The workshop making fake Premier League products
The workshop making fake Premier League products

A market trader who set up a factory producing counterfeit souvenirs of Premier League football clubs has been jailed for 12 months.

Michael Ashby produced posters, pictures and clocks bearing the official trademarks of clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Hull City and Arsenal from his isolated farmhouse near Louth.

Lee Finch, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Ashby was not licenced to use the trademarks for the products which he then sold from his stall at Eastgate Market, Ingoldmells.

His stall was raided by Trading Standards officers in March last year when over 300 suspected counterfeit items were seized.

Five months later a second raid was carried out at his home which led to the discovery of over 2,300 counterfeit products. These included fake souvenirs for Dr Who and the rock band AC/DC.

Mr Finch said Ashby had printing equipment at the property enabling him to produce posters and pictures. He was also producing clocks on site and attaching the official logos which he printed on site.

Ashby,54, of Brick Pits Farm, Scupholme, near Louth, admitted six charges of using a trademark illegally and five charges of offering the items for sale. He was sentenced on Friday.

Recorder Tracey Lloyd-Nesling told him “You were well aware that this was an unlawful trade.”

Saleem Khan, defending, said the items were low value and there was no suggestion that Ashby had made vast profits.

He said Ashby turned to producing the fake goods because of financial problems arising out of the collapse of a company run by his wife.

“One of her businesses failed. As a result of that their debts spiralled out of all control.”

Mr Khan said the couple fell into mortgage arrears and his wife suffered serious health which meant he was the breadwinner as well as having to care for his wife.

“This led to a toxic mix. He turned to something he could succeed at. It was an easy option for him.”

He said that Ashby, who had previously produced similar goods legitimately, managed to clear his mortgage arrears and some of his other debts before he was raided.