Two men that ran a company which sold fake jewellery have been handed suspended prison sentences, the South Wales Argus reports.
Stefan Hodgson and Sean Payter, who hail from Newport and Penarth respectively, were found guilty of selling necklaces, bracelets, bangles and earrings from China that had not been verified as genuine.
Their company, gems2gems, was also found in an investigation to have been selling “unsafe” cosmetics and other counterfeit goods.
Concerns had been raised by the Assay Office, with council officers later seizing jewellery, cosmetics and £12,845 in cash at Payter’s Penarth home.
Hodson, who the investigation revealed had been trading for five years, and Payter both pleaded guilty to 12 offences.
They were each given prison sentences of 20 months – brought down to 14 as a result of their early guilty pleas – suspended for 18 months.
Payter will now face a further investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act, while both individuals must pay a victim surcharge of £140.
Judge Nicola Jones reportedly told the pair that they would have been sent to prison had they not been suffering with ill health, pointing out that they had shown no duty of care and that there had been no way to recall the counterfeit goods.
According to South Wales Argus, Cllr Eddie Williams, chairman of the Shared Regulatory Services joint committee and Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for legal, regulatory and planning services, said: “This was a despicable operation that took money from members of the public for items that were not what they purported to be.
“Great work by Shared Regulatory Services has led to this prosecution, which ensures that no more people will fall victim to this company.
“This case should serve as a warning to others operating illegally within our community. The council will actively look to protect our residents and will not hesitate to take action if we find people are not operating within the parameters of the law.”