Preston women who peddled fake gear on Facebook made more than £21,000 between them, court told

Two women who made tens of thousands of pounds selling counterfeit fashion items on Facebook have been ordered to pay back £1 each following a financial probe.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 12:30 pm

However the nominal Proceeds of Crime order means the finances of bogus traders Sharon Pinnock, 45, of Fletcher Road, Preston, and Joanne Howarth, 47, of Moorcroft Crescent, Preston, will be under constant review and the courts can seize any future assets or cash they inherit.

During a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Preston Crown Court, Judge Simon Medland QC ruled Pinnock had benefited to the tune of £10,804.02, from her crimes while Howarth had benefited by £11,173.90.

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Crown Court

A previous hearing was told both defendants were listed as administrators of a Facebook page called “Shop Til You Drop”, 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.

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.

In November 2017 a probe by beauty brand GHD identified a fake GHD Curve Curl Wand set, which would usually retail at £120, for sale on “Shop Til You Drop” for £40.

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 trainers and two tops branded as 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 buy the items with a view to selling them at a mark up for profit. She was previously given a £200 fine by magistrates while Howarth got a £150 fine.

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