Maxim Blinkov /
17 December 2014Trademarks

Divine intervention for £100k Welsh counterfeiter

A man in Wales has had his prison sentence for distributing counterfeit films and music suspended after a reverend intervened.

Paul Harrison, aged 48 and a resident of Penrhys, Rhondda, pleaded guilty to 13 charges at Merthyr Crown Court relating to the sale of counterfeit DVDs that included both feature films and pornography.

In total, the fake and pirated goods would have been worth more than £100,000 ($160,00).

In July, the Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS) closed down what it described as the “ cottage industry”—because Harrison regularly sold the counterfeit DVDs to his friends in his local neighbourhood.

WHoTS seized 3,152 DVDs worth £9,456, 580 pornographic DVDs worth £1,740, 6,550 film files worth £19,650 and 241,800 audio files worth £72,540.

According to news outlet WalesOnline, Harrison was due to start a prison sentence before Christmas until an intervention by a reverend from a church in Rhondda who noted his “ impeccable” character.

Instead, it was reported, the court handed out a 16-month prison sentence that was suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £600 in legal costs.

David Jones, head of community protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “As we enter the festive season, which is one of our busiest times in terms of protecting the public from counterfeit goods wrapped up as the genuine article, this is an important case for us.

“Paul Harrison very nearly ended up behind bars for Christmas as a result of his actions and the case clearly demonstrates the harm he was doing to genuine traders,” he added.

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