Superman was a fake

Woman in court.

AN Axminster woman who ran a company selling fake goods has been ordered to do unpaid work for the community – and pay almost �15,000 in costs.

Natalie McCarthy, 47, of Waggs Plot, Colston, admitted eight offences under the Trade Marks Act at Exeter Crown Court last week.

The mother-of-three had been the main force behind a successful eBay business called Honeytoast UK, importing cheap gift items from the Philippines for children’s parties.

The items bore a number of well known children’s characters, including Superman, Winnie the Pooh and various Disney characters. Many of them - up to 97 per cent of those seized - were counterfeit, bearing the trade marks of established companies.

McCarthy’s husband, James, accepted a Simple Caution on one charge on the basis that his role in the partnership had been largely a silent one.

The McCarthys have made a contribution to Devon County Council’s costs of �10,000 and Mrs McCarthy was ordered to pay the remaining �4,824.14.

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There was a forfeiture order for the 10,000 plus seized items which also represent a financial loss to them of over �10,000. The judge considered that the custody threshold had been met but took into account the financial penalties involved and the previous good character and sentenced Mrs McCarthy to a 40 hours Community Service Order.

The Judge commented that she did not make sufficient checks on the products and that the outcome should have a deterrent effect on others.

After the hearing Devon County Council officials issued the following warning to would-be traders: “People who intend to import goods for resale should consider approaching their local trading standards for advice on legal requirements, particularly when the manufacturing base is outside the EU.”