Seller of fake goods brought to court after 10 years

Back in 2010, two men were found with fake DVDs and tobacco at a car boot sale in Cheltenham but neither attended court when charges were brought against them.

One was caught and prosecuted soon after, when he was discovered selling counterfeit DVDs again, but the other proved elusive until he was arrested last week and appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on 23 March 2022.

Qiang Xia, aged 38, formerly of Birmingham but now of Wolverhampton, admitted 12 offences of selling, or possessing for sale, fake DVDs and one offence of selling fake tobacco.

He was fined £110, ordered to pay £645 towards prosecution costs and the court ordered all seized items to be forfeited and destroyed.

The investigation began when trading standards received information that two people were selling illegal tobacco and fake DVDs from their car at Southam Car Boot sale in Cheltenham.

In a covert operation on 19 September 2010, officers purchased a Toy Story 3 DVD and a pouch of Golden Virginia tobacco, which were both confirmed to be fake on examination.

Officers seized 34 pouches of Golden Virginia tobacco and 269 DVDs on that same date at the car boot sale and a further 499 counterfeit DVDs from Xia’s house in Birmingham on 27 October 2010.

Following the investigation Xia was charged and summoned to court on 19 March 2012, but he failed to attend and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Nothing more was heard of him as he laid low for 10 years until he was arrested in the West Midlands last week. He was ordered to attend Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court, where the prosecution was finally able to go ahead.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for trading standards, said: “This prosecution sends out a clear message that no matter how long you think you can hide for, eventually you will be caught and brought before the courts. These illegal activities harm the trade of legitimate suppliers and they will not get away with it.”

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