A MAN who sold counterfeit clothing online has received a suspended prison sentence and had goods estimated to be worth more than £65,000 seized.

Alireza Balmeh sold clothing purporting to be by major brands including Fred Perry, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein, while trading as Yes Clearance from an address in Newport.

The 34-year-old was given a nine-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months when he appeared before city magistrates, having pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Trade Mark Act 1994.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,342 to Newport City Council, and a £140 victim surcharge.

More than 1,200 counterfeit items bearing the aforementioned famous brand names, and others including Abercrombie and Fitch, and Ralph Lauren, were seized by Newport trading standards officers who in September 2016 swooped on an address in Scott Close, Gaer, Newport, used by Balmeh.

They also seized computers and business documents, the latter including a letter from the UK Border Force informing Balmeh that it had detained a consignment of Ralph Lauren polo shirts it suspected as being counterfeit.

The raid followed an investigation into Balmeh's trading activities, which had in turn followed a report in May 2016 from a member of the public who was suspicious about the quality of polo shirts supposedly made by Abercrombie and Fitch, and Ralph Lauren, that they had bought through the Yes Clearance website.

Councillor Ray Truman, cabinet member for licensing and regulation said the council supports legitimate businesses and council tax payers by taking "robust action" against sellers of counterfeit goods.

"Such people have little regard to the effect their activities have on the local and national economy," he said.

“The sale of such counterfeit products threatens law abiding businesses and citizens on many levels. Retailers face unfair competition and consumers get a bad deal and an inferior product.

“We will continue to support local businesses and protect Newport citizens by taking action against such illegal activity, and by promoting our Fake Free Newport campaign.”

That campaign seeks to work in partnership with legitimate businesses that have invested in the city, so a stand can be made against the sale of counterfeit goods. It also encourages residents and business to report anyone they think is breaking the law, via the rogue trading hotline - 01633 235233 - or online through the council’s website.