A trader has been jailed after 8,000 counterfeit and dangerous goods worth more than £100,000 were seized from his West End shop.
Kashif Haq was sentenced to 13 months in prison in December after previously admitting to 69 offences.
Following his sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, Westminster Council is asking anyone who suspects they received dodgy toys over Christmas to report it to the authority's Trading Standards team.
The 22-year-old sold fake Beats headphones, Hello Kitty dolls, Beefeater bears, New Era hats, and iPhone chargers from his shop in Trocadero Centre, Leicester Square.
In an attempt to evade conviction, the trader claimed he was tricked into the ownership of the store.
Haq had pleaded guilty to 69 offences at Westminster Magistrates' Court in January 2017, but later requested a Newton hearing to contest the evidence that he owned the shop.
He had been caught as part of Operation Canton in what Westminster Council described as one of the largest seizures of counterfeit items from a trader within the West End.
Many of the fake toys have parts that pose a choking hazard to children, with the total value of seized goods put at £112,000.
Despite pleading guilty, Haq asked to change his responsibility in the business from owner to shop assistant.
In court he claimed he was a student who had been hired on the spot for £20 a day in 2014 by an unknown owner
He went on to say he was promoted to area manager on his first day, complete with a pay rise, and that he gave the purported owner his passport, despite still not knowing his name.
Haq also claimed someone forged his signature making him the director of the business, sole share owner, and lessee of the premises.
He said he was only made aware he was director when he received the court summons.
The investigation found he paid staff, rent and continued trading after warnings about counterfeit items.
Judge Shetty, speaking at Blackfriars Crown Court, said the defendant “lied through his teeth” and that he “did not believe the defendant’s chain of events” as to how he got the job and that the running of the business.
He also rejected the forged signature claims.
He said: "You were working as a manager and you pay staff. You’re responsible for paying rent and for a number of things.
“Despite being warned about selling these goods you carried on through arrogance. These are serious offences."
He said the severity of the case meant a custodial sentence was the only option.
Westminster Council said counterfeit goods can be hard to distinguish from genuine articles but urged anyone who doubts the legitimacy of a product should report it to trading standards.
A spokesman said: "Not only are counterfeit goods illegal they are often not build within UK safety standards, and may pose a risk to users.
"Counterfeit electrical goods, such as mobile chargers or cables, can cause fires or may electrocute the user. Counterfeit toys, such as cuddly toys or figurines, have been found to pose a choking hazards for children."
Danny Chalkley, head of public protection at the council, said: “This trader sold dangerous toys that could have harmed children, and this 13-month sentence reflects this heinous crime.
“If you suspect anyone of selling dangerous products, especially toys during the festive season, please contact your local Trading Standards team.”
To contact Westminster Trading Standards call 020 7641 2000 or email email@example.com
Residents and businesses outside of Westminster can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.
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