A STOURBRIDGE man has begun a two-year prison sentence for running a T-shirt counterfeiting racket from his garage that cost trademark holders more than £500,000.

The production of the fake clothing was professional, well organised and extremely profitable as Ian Guy sold goods worldwide, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Guy (pictured) had been warned about his illegal activities by at least two trademark holders but he “carried on regardless” - Mark Jackson, prosecuting, told the court.

He said the 38-year-old sold goods on eBay using the name 'Guy’s Tees' and the counterfeit T-shirts were effectively being made to order.

The goods bore names including The Beatles, Star Wars, Ed Sheeran, Lady Ga Ga, Jack Daniels, Yamaha and Porsche, the court was told.

Mr Jackson said: “This was counterfeiting on a commercial scale. There was a high level of profit and a large volume of counterfeit items.

“On any view it was a large scale enterprise and goods seized from Guy’s home represented but a fraction of the items he sold between 2005 and late 2012.”

Mr Jackson said it was deliberate offending because Guy, who ran the crooked operation from the garage of his John Corbett Drive home, had clearly paid no heed to warnings.

When a search warrant was executed at the property counterfeit goods were seized along with printing and IT equipment together with stocks of blank T-shirts and goods ready to be posted.

Guy started off selling very modest amounts of counterfeit goods, said Mr Jackson, but sales escalated and between 2010 and 2012 amounted to around £250,000.

The associated losses to the trademark holders as a consequence was likely to have exceeded £500,000 during that period alone, he told the court.

Sales were not limited to the UK with goods being sold to countries throughout Europe and to places including Australia, Russia, Chile and North and South America.

A firm of security consultants and investigators who represent the interests of a number of trademark holders including The Beatles made a test purchase from Guy after receiving complaints from eBay users about the activities of the business.

They paid £9.99 for a Beatles T-shirt when a genuine shirt would have retailed for up to £19.99 and in a second test purchase the investigators bought a Ramones T-shirt.

Ebay listings showed hundreds and hundreds of counterfeit T-shirts were being offered for sale by Guy bearing motifs including Harry Potter, Clockwork Orange and Disney.

Guy pleaded guilty to seven charges involving the fraudulent production of the goods, the sale and supply of the items and the packaging.

Judge Martin Walsh told him it was serious offending because it “undermines the integrity of legitimate commercial practices".

He said it was aggravated by the fact the father-of-three had ignored warnings to desist and he added: "This business was run from your garage but it was significant in scale and there were large volumes of goods seized for future use.”

The Judge immediately ordered Guy, a man of previous good character, to pay £130,000 and gave him six months to come up with the money or face two further years imprisonment in default.

Stephen Hamblett, defending Guy - who was also told he must pay £18,500 towards prosecution costs, said: “He looked at what others were doing on eBay and he ventured into it himself.”

He told the court the family home would now have to be sold or remortgaged because there was £150,000 equity in the property.

Mr Hamblett concluded Guy was a ruined man in a case in which there were no winners and he added: “This is a mistake and a very costly mistake for him and his family.”