A trader who sold fake Rolex watches for thousands of pounds has been sentenced after being caught by Trading Standards.
Jamie Thorpe, 33, of Millwards Farm, Lewes, has been handed a 12-month suspended sentence and community service after being found guilty of selling counterfeit watches and parts and even tampering with official Rolex warranty booklets.
Trading under the name Ludgate Watches, Thorpe was investigated by West Sussex Trading Standards following a complaint in December 2014, when a victim purchased a £2,425 Rolex watch from him via eBay. On receiving it, she immediately believed it counterfeit and confirmed it with a Rolex dealer.
The Rolex Watch Company carried out test purchases on three Rolex dials from Ludgate Watches, before West Sussex Trading Standards bought a branded warranty book from the company. All were fakes.
Trading Standards searched four addresses in West Sussex, Surrey and East Sussex. Fake watches, watch dials, watch straps, guarantee booklets and plastic tags were seized, masquerading as Rolex, Omega and Swatch brands.
Computer files seized also showed evidence Thorpe forged Rolex documents to make the fakes look genuine.
Thorpe pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court and was sentenced to a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, as well as 180 hours of community service on Friday, June 23.
West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, Debbie Kennard, said: “This case of fraud was one which went to elaborate lengths to deceive the public.
“Our Trading Standards team pursued it vigorously to make sure justice was served.
“We are grateful to the public for tipping us off in cases like these, so please, if you suspect you are being ripped off with fake goods, let us know immediately.”
West Sussex County Council’s trading standards manager, Richard Sargeant, said: “Selling fake goods is a serious crime and one we do everything in our power to stop.
“We cannot stress enough how important it is for people to buy from a reputable trader, particularly when purchasing high-end goods.
“If you encounter anything suspicious contact Trading Standards at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or call Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.”