Trading Standards catch fake Ugg Boot seller via Facebook

Oxfordshire Trading Standards discovered in June last year that 22-year-old Elizabeth Mildenhall was selling fake Ugg Boots via a Facebook page.

Mildenhall responded to messages on Facebook sent by a Trading Standards officer under a false name and an arrangement was reached for him to go to her then property in Lavender Way, Witney, to pick up the counterfeit goods.

House was searched

A subsequent search of the address by Trading Standards in December 2012 found the defendant in possession of nine pairs of fake Ugg Boots - a popular Australian-made brand - and two counterfeit Ralph Lauren swimsuits.

Mildenhall, now of Andersey Way, Abingdon, pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Monday October 14 to six charges under the Trade Marks Act relating to the selling and possession of counterfeit clothing in a case brought by Trading Standards.

Another charge she admitted to concerned the transferal of criminal property of £5,465.84 from one bank account to another.

Magistrates gave Mildenhall a £200 fine for each of the Trade Marks Act offences and a £400 penalty for the transferal of criminal property charge. She was also ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

A clear message

Richard Webb, Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards and Community Safety Manager, said: "The prosecution of Elizabeth Mildenhall sends a clear message to counterfeit goods sellers in Oxfordshire: the County Council's Trading Standards team will do all it can to track you down and bring you to court.

"The sale of counterfeit clothing damages local economies, supports organised crime and it is not tolerated in Oxfordshire. I hope this conviction acts as a strong warning and deterrent to anybody else who is considering selling fake goods locally."

Intervention via Facebook

Anu Prashar, a Team Leader for Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards team, who prosecuted Mildenhall, said: "This was not a sophisticated counterfeit clothing selling operation and one that was infiltrated via Facebook by Trading Standards.

"Mildenhall responded to our messages even though she had no idea who was making the contact and then blatantly sold the fake Ugg Boots to our officer at her then home after arranging to meet via Facebook.

"The fines given Mildenhall reflects how seriously the courts takes the matter of counterfeit goods."

Trading Standards' hard work pays off

Councillor Louise Chapman, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Policy Coordination, said: "I'd like to pay tribute to the Trading Standards staff involved in bringing this case to court and securing this conviction.

"There are trade mark rules for a reason and those who break them by selling counterfeit goods are committing a criminal offence which can lead to prosecution and a conviction."