THE owner of a Lye barber’s shop who was found to be in possession of hundreds of items of counterfeit clothing and accessories has been sentenced in a case brought by Dudley trading standards.

Abdul Ali, of Ali Barbers in Lye High Street, pleaded not guilty to six offences under the Trade Marks Act of possessing counterfeit goods with a view to sale or distribution and one offence of possessing criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act but was found guilty after a trial at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court last month.

The court heard police and fire officers visited the premises in October 2016 to carry out an inspection and discovered 296 items of clothing and accessories such as watches and sunglasses, priced for sale and stored in an area at the back of the shop behind mirrored sliding doors.

They included brands labelled as Nike, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Versace and Gucci.

The goods were seized and passed to Dudley Council’s trading standards who confirmed with the brand holders that the haul was counterfeit.

Ali denied responsibility claiming he had rented that part of the shop to someone else, who could not be traced.

He was, however, proven to have control of the whole shop and therefore possession of the counterfeit goods.

Ali claimed in court that he was no longer involved in the running of the shop.

At a sentencing hearing on March 1, Ali was given a 12-month community order, with 200 hours unpaid work and fined £150 with £500 costs.

He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85.

The counterfeit haul was ordered to be forfeited for destruction by trading standards.

Councillor Gaye Partridge, Dudley's cabinet member for communities, said: “Selling counterfeit goods is a serious offence as it hoodwinks customers who expect quality goods from premium brands but end up with poor quality fakes.

"It also adversely affects legitimate businesses who sell genuine brand licensed items.

"This prosecution sends out a clear message, we will protect consumers and businesses from this illegal activity.”