Millbrook man sentenced over counterfeit Sky remote controls

A Millbrook businessman has been prosecuted for selling counterfeit Sky remotes and sentenced to 28 months in prison.

Mr Stephen Usher, Director of Super Satellite Man Ltd and Sky Satellites Ltd, was taken to court by Central Bedfordshire Council for selling over 45,000 counterfeit Sky remote controls.

On Friday 12 January 2017, Usher was sentenced to a 28 months custodial sentence. The judge agreed that the benefit from the criminality was £145,000. A Confiscation Order of £60,874.04 was awarded. Usher was also ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £47,000.

Four offences including fraudulent trading

On 1 December 2017, at Luton Crown Court Mr Stephen Usher pleaded guilty to four offences. These were fraudulent trading contrary to Companies Act, fraud contrary to the Fraud Act, unauthorised use of a trade mark contrary to Trade Marks Act and possession of an article for use in a fraud contrary to the Fraud Act.

A tip off led to a test operation

A test operation was carried out by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team in September 2015.

It had received intelligence from Sky about some possible counterfeit products being sold by Super Satellite Man Ltd and Sky Satellites Ltd.

The test operation confirmed the products being sold were counterfeit.

A warrant was executed, at the Defendants business premises at Manor Park Farm, Millbrook, in February 2016. This resulted in 13,919 counterfeit remote controls being seized. This is the biggest seizure of Sky products in the country to date.

Large scale enterprise

During the investigation, it was discovered that Mr Usher’s enterprise was run on a very large scale. It involved the creation, importation, and sale to consumers of counterfeit remote controls and a number of other legitimate products.

These were sold via numerous trader’s accounts on online trading sites (eBay and Amazon).

The enterprise was trading between September 2011 and February 2016.

Made in China

Usher was interviewed in September 2016, where he admitted that he was responsible for buying stock and admitted that he had set up the manufacturing contacts in China for the counterfeit remotes. He also admitted visiting the factory that manufactured them.

Usher stated that when he started supplying remotes he had bought them in bulk from a UK wholesaler. He said that he didn’t realise they were counterfeit at first, but he did become aware that they were counterfeit as time went on.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said:

“Businesses may be tempted to sell counterfeit products to unsuspecting members of the public, in a bid to make a bit of extra money. But often these counterfeit products are poorly made which short changes the customer.

“This sends out a clear message, that we take this matter very seriously, and that we will do everything we can to protect the public from fake goods. If you’re caught then you will be investigated and are likely to end up with not only a large fine, but in this case a prison sentence.”

 

If you have any concerns about suspected fake products or rogue traders, contact Trading Standards by emailing trading.standards@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. Citizens Advice can also give advice via its consumer helpline, 03454 04 05 06.