Preston women in court for selling counterfeit fashion items they bought in Cheetham Hill on Facebook

Two women who peddled counterfeit fashion items online are facing a financial probe.

By Stef Hall
Saturday, 5th September 2020, 7:00 am

Sharron Pinnock, 45, of Fletcher Road, Preston, admitted selling counterfeit goods and six charges of possessing them, while co-defendant Joanne Howarth, 47, of Moorcroft Crescent, Preston, admitted two offences of selling counterfeit goods and one of possessing them.

Prosecuting at Preston Crown Court, Jack Troup said both defendants were listed as administrators of the “Shop Til You Drop” page, and Pinnock was listed on another page named “Bend the Trend Boutique”.

In November 2016 Joanne Howarth was sent a warning via Facebook messenger regarding selling trademarked items through Facebook, and a probe began in November 2017 after further items were sold.

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City of London Police's intellectual property crime unit (PIPCU) and Greater Manchester Police raided properties in Cheetham Hill where the women sourced the goods - in March in an unrelated operation

While Lancashire Trading Standards officers were conducting investigations, Northamptonshire County Council had received a consumer complaint about

“Shop Til You Drop”.

As a result both were sent 'advice letters' to their Facebook profiles.

But in November 2017 an Intelligence Analyst engaged by the brand GHD identified a fake GHD Curve Curl Wand set on “Shop Til You Drop” and carried out a test purchase for £40 - when they would usually cost £120.

Another officer bought fake Ugg boots for £35, and a further investigator bought Timberland boots on 'Bend the Trend'

On March 13, 2018, Pinnock's home was raided and several counterfeit items were seized, including a Montcler jacket, GHD Precious gift set, three pairs of UGG boots, Coco Chanel perfume and Chanel hair clips, nine pairs of trainer and two tops branded a Nike, and five track suits and a T-shirt branded as North Face.

Two counterfeit pairs of Nike trainers were seized at Howarth's home

In interview Pinnock admitted selling the items, claiming she would receive orders via Facebook and would then travel to Cheetham Hill in Manchester and purchase the items with a view to selling them at a mark up for profit.

Howarth gave a similar account, saying the items were supplied by Pinnock or a man.

Both defendants are of previous good character.

The court imposed a £150 fine for Howarth, while Pinnock got a £200 fine.

However, both now face proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act which could see further ill gottens gains seized.