Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Millbrook businessman sentenced for selling knock-off Sky remotes

16 January 2018

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

Sky remote control prosecutionMr Stephen Usher, Director of Super Satellite Man Ltd and Sky Satellites Ltd was in court last week for sentencing after being taken to court by Central Bedfordshire Council for selling over 45,000 counterfeit Sky remote controls.

It followed a test operation, carried out by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team in September 2015 when they 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 in Millbrook, in February 2016 whereby 13,919 counterfeit remote controls were seized, the biggest seizure of Sky products in the country to date.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Mr Usher’s enterprise, which was trading between September 2011 and February 2016, was extremely sophisticated and 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. Which he sold via numerous trader’s accounts on online trading sites (eBay and Amazon).

Sky remote prosecution warehouseUsher 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, also visiting the factory that manufactured them. He 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.

Four offences including fraudulent trading

On the 1 December 2017, at Luton Crown Court Mr Stephen Usher pleaded guilty to four offences including 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.

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 and a Confiscation Order of £60,874.04 was awarded. Usher was also ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £47,000. 

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 the team by emailing trading.standards@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

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