Blackpool bargain store director denies 250,000 '˜fake' soft toys haul
A raid at a Blackpool bargain store led Trading Standards Officers to around quarter of a million counterfeit toys, a court heard.
Officers from Blackpool Council seized the bogus Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys from B&M Bargains in Whitegate Drive on February 10 2015.
The figures - Leonardo, Michael Angelo, Raphael and Donatello - looked identical to genuine figures bearing a trademark registered to Viacom International Inc.
But Preston Crown Court was told a closer examination revealed import labels were fake and the toys were in fact convincing copies of the popular characters.
Jonathan Kahn, the director of Amazing savings Ltd, denies 34 offences relating to the sale and possession of counterfeit goods.
Hayley White, a buyer for B&M Retail Ltd, said: “They looked just like normal samples to me.”
On January 25 2015, Trading Standards officers received information that fake goods were on sale in Blackpool.
Enquiries with B&M Bargains - which had bought the figures in good faith - led them to their supplier, Jonathan Kahn.
Kahn, operating Amazing Savings Ltd (ASL) from offices in Golders Green, London, denies knowingly supplying bogus Spiderman, Ninja Turtles and Pie Face toys to B&M Bargains, Home Bargains and TJ Hughes Stores in the UK.
He told officers samples were sent from a supplier in Israel which would be used to pitch items to toy retailers.
Once an order was placed the figures would be ordered from China and shipped to his warehouse in Manchester for distribution to stores in the UK.
He did not see the goods when they arrived, he claimed.
But David Traynor, prosecuting, said: “If stock is being purchased in that way there remains a duty on the importer that once the stock is received, the importer has to check they have got what they have ordered, and more importantly that what they are receiving is in fact genuine goods to sell onto retailers.”
Mr Traynor showed the jury emails between Kahn and Eddie Wong, a supplier in China, which appeared to suggest some of the parts used in the manufacture of the toys would have to be stolen, to complete the order.
He said: “This should put ASL on guard that they are dealing with a man who is not, let’s face it, straight up.”
But Mr Traynor added Kahn continued to sell the goods, even after being questioned on suspicion of trademark offences.
Miss White told the court she bought the figures at market value, after seeing a sample’s from a regular supplier which seemed genuine.
She said: “I never questioned whether they were genuine or not. It never crossed my mind there would be a problem.”
After the Turtles were seized and found to be fake, Miss White said she contacted Kahn to find out what the problem was.
She said: “At first he said it must have been a mistake, that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys were genuine and that Trading Standards had made a mistake.
“But Trading Standards said they weren’t genuine and we had to take them off sale.
“Johnny (Kahn) said he must have had a bad stock and wouldn’t deal with that supplier again.”