TWO unscrupulous rogues were sentenced to prison terms after selling counterfeit fishing lines.
The fishing lines case was brought by North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards Service following complaints.
It was against Ian Bailey, an eBay seller from Mickle Trafford, Cheshire, and Northern Sport Fishing, a manufacturing company from Bromsgrove, West Midlands, and its director Richard Tramer.
York Crown Court found them both guilty after guilty pleas.
Bailey was sentenced to eight months imprisonment while Tramer got seven months, suspended for 18 months and the company was fined £1,000. Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 will follow.
When Trading Standards Service officers executed a warrant at Bailey’s home address they seized more than 5,000 fishing lines.
The investigation began after a complaint was received from Chris Hartley, a director of Guide Flyfishing Ltd of Sherburn, which holds the sole UK rights to sell Rio fishing lines.
Test purchases of fly fishing lines by Trading Standards, and a number of fly fishing line firms, established that Bailey was selling fake fishing lines under the brand names Rio, Snowbee, Greys, Hardy and Loop.
Inquiries showed Bailey had a turnover in excess of £156,000 through his eBay accounts ‘Telewatcher’, ‘the line man’ and ‘Hardyclassics’.
Judge Andrew Stubbs described Bailey’s offending as ‘brazen’ and said there was a ‘corrupt business relationship’ between Tramer and Bailey, which had had a potential loss of turnover to the genuine businesses of well over £100,000, coupled with the potential loss to their reputation and repeat business.
Andrew Lee, portfolio holder for Trading Standards, said: “Purchasers of the lines sold by Bailey were expecting to get a product which performed to a very high standard.
“Instead, they received mill ends and mis-described lines which were of a poor standard.”
Chris Hartley, from Guide Flyfishing Ltd, said: “The lines purchased from Bailey through eBay are greatly inferior in virtually all respects, with none of Rio’s technology.
“Anyone buying these products believing they are genuine Rio products will be extremely disappointed.
“It is difficult to quantify the number of fake Rio lines sold but there will be disgruntled members of the public who believe that Rio is of poor quality.
“In conclusion, we need to make people aware that branded products should only be purchased from authorised approved retailers.
“The old motto still stands true – ‘If it looks too good to be true, it likely is’.”
Suspected counterfeits of any kind can be reported to trading standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.
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