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April 24, 2012 - 13:49

A ROGUE market trader who sold counterfeit clothing carrying top brand names has avoided jail. Ashiq Hussain, 39, sold the tracksuits and other items at Bristol Fruit Market in St Philip's on Sundays, when it becomes a general market. Clothing found in his possession carried fake trademarks for several well-known brands, including Adidas, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Superdry, Henri Lloyd, Moschino, Bench, Dolce and Gabbana, Timberland, Lacoste, G Star, Lyle and Scott and JLS. He was caught after a two-year investigation by South West Scambusters, in conjunction with Bristol City Council trading standards staff. Hussain, of Kilmorie Road, Acocks Green in Birmingham, earlier pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to 14 counts of selling fake clothing contrary to the Trade Marks act. Judge Simon Darwall-Smith sentenced him to six months in prison for each count, to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months. Alan Fuller, prosecuting yesterday, said that in August and October 2010 officers from trading standards and the South West Scambuster team visited Bristol Fruit Market. They found a stall that was selling supposed branded clothes, with the stallholder operating out of a white Mercedes van. Officers purchased a pair of Dolce and Gabbana jeans, an Armani T-shirt and an Adidas tracksuit. The goods were sent away to the real retailers who confirmed they were fake. On Sunday, November 28, 2010 police stopped two white vans, one with the same number plate, travelling into Bristol on the M32. Hussain was driving one, and a large quantity of suspected counterfeit clothing was seized from the vans and sent away for analysis. It was confirmed the clothes were fake and a minimum valuation of £25,000 was given for what they would have been worth if they were real. Mr Fuller said the cost of the full investigation and court case came to around £26,000 – with £16,000 making up investigation costs. Briony Molyneux, defending, said Hussain was not a man of means. She said he had a wife and children to support and that his yearly income was no more than £16,000. She said he had been struggling to pay his mortgage and had large bills to pay for repair work on his house. Judge Darwall-Smith also ordered Hussain to complete 200 hours' unpaid work and to pay £5,000 in costs, at a rate of £10 a week. South West Scambuster manager Alan Evans said: 'This is a fantastic result and we hope it sends out a message that we will not tolerate this type of consumer rip-off. Not only does it pass off inferior goods as genuine but it undermines legitimate retailers who are trying to make an honest living in difficult trading conditions."