Sheffield bankrupt jailed for T-shirt scam

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A bankrupt from Sheffield who made £19,000 by selling fake designer T-shirts on the internet has been jailed for his crimes.

Customers paid 35-year-old Paul Shaw up to £43.99 for the tops which carried Vivienne Westwood labels – but were not produced by the designer.

Derby Crown Court heard trading standards officers started an investigation after receiving complaints about the clothing purchased via internet auction site eBay.

They bought one of the T-shirts which led them to an email account in Dronfield belonging to a friend of Shaw’s.

Chris Lowe, prosecuting, said the account was being used by Shaw in exchange for 10 per cent of the turnover.

Mr Lowe said: “Shaw had been banned from using internet payment system PayPal because he had been declared bankrupt previously.”

When officers checked Shaw’s computer, they found 588 counterfeit items had been sold in 14 months at an average price of £38.

Mr Lowe said: “This was unauthorised trademark use and in effect, customers received counterfeit clothing.

Shaw, of Artisan View, Heeley, admitted breaching trademark laws.

Amanda Denton, mitigating, said he was making about £100 a week after paying for the T-shirts, auction charges, shipping and other fees.

She said Shaw had received an inheritance and was deeply upset at the death of his father.

She said: “He used the inheritance to set up his own business which started to flounder and he took the death of his father hard.

Jailing him for 36 weeks, Judge Jonathan Gosling said: “These were substandard copies.

“The courts have to deter because of the damage to legitimate traders, manufacturers and retailers and because it damages the commercial credibility of eBay.”

“I hope once you are released your life will be rather better than it has been in recent years.”