Director denies £250k fake ninja turtle rip-off

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A company and its director have denied peddling £250,000 of fake Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and other branded toys to major high street shops in Blackpool.

It is alleged popular high street chains in the resort, including B&M Bargains, TJ Morris Ltd, which runs Home Bargains, and Lewis Home Retail Ltd, which runs TJ Hughes, were stung by the sale of hundreds of thousands counterfeit toys and games, ripping off brands such as Marvel, Hasbro and Viacom.

Blackpool bargain store director denies 250,000 ‘fake’ soft toys haul

Preston Crown Court was told the alleged offences came to light during a probe by Blackpool Borough Council’s trading standards department.

It is alleged the company sold, or made arrangements to sell, a number of different toys to three large trading establishments.

The court heard when sales had been agreed and the companies had requested a sample, genuine figures had been sent - but it is alleged once the transactions were agreed, ASL would source cheaper, black market goods from the Far East.

Jonathan “Jonny” Kahn, 63, of Parkway, Golders Green, London, and Amazing Saving Limited (ASL), of The Vale, Golders Green, London, deny a string of 34 trademark offences.

Giving evidence Kahn denied “fearing” Trading Standards and said: “We worked closely with our local Trading Standards.”

Earlier in the case jurors were told of e-mails between himself and his main supplier from China – calling himself Eddie Wong – in which Wong tells him: “We ask them to steal part of the goods for us around end of April, so they prefer us using the Australian box for shipment.”

Samples of the toys were placed in front of the jury. The court was told Trading Standards found ASL had employed a packaging firm to make labels giving the details of the importer as ‘Jabon Y Olor’ of Almeria, Spain.

Prosecuting, David Traynor said Blackpool Trading Standards officer Paul Crook was informed in January 2015 that counterfeit 15cm Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) were on the shelves of B&M Bargains.

In February turtles were seized from three stores, which did not record the importer details as required by Toy Safety Regulations.

The stock had been purchased from ASL as part of an order for 8,004 units.

He said: “When Paul Crook attended at ASL’s offices in London he was refused entry by the defendant’s son, who claimed not to know where the ASL storage warehouse was.”

In a subsequent raid 54 toy samples recovered from the offices of ASL were found to be genuine, but officers visited a distributor and seized items believed to be counterfeit.

Trading Standards revisited the offices of ASL in October 2015 and evidence from two computers revealed ASL was in direct contact with China.