A DARLINGTON man has had to pay almost £1,000 in court charges after his counterfeit online designer goods business was exposed.

Steven Walton, now of Milbank Road, Darlington, sold ‘designer’ items online including Hunter boots and SuperDry, Puma and Jack Wills clothing but the goods were revealed as fake by a trading standards investigation.

As part of the operation ‘Black Fox’, brand protection experts working for the designer labels made test purchases of products sold by Walton through his ‘Quality Dis’ website.

When tests revealed the items were fakes, Darlington Borough Council prosecuted Walton using the evidence provided by the experts.

Walton pleaded guilty at Darlington Magistrates’ Court to four charges under the Trade Marks Act and was fined £400 plus £500 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

Nigel Green, principal trading standards officer was pleased with the outcome.

He said: “We are committed to preventing the sale of counterfeit goods and this prosecution should act as a warning to other rogue traders – we will leave no stone unturned to take action against people who look to gain from the proceeds of criminal activity.”

To report sales of counterfeit goods, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.