THE smell of glue alerted traffic cops to 1,400 fake Nike trainers – worth £120,000 had they been real – when they stopped a market trader driving home on the M1 motorway.
Mohammed Rangzeb, 31, from Huddersfield, told police he was only a courier instructed to “take the goods somewhere vaguely towards Leeds”, after making the pick up in London.
Northampton Crown Court heard that the market trader claimed to deal solely in female fashions, but trading standards officers later secretly filmed him selling trainers in a market.
Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, said that after information was passed to the police Rangzeb and a female passenger were stopped driving M1 northbound near junction 15 at Northampton on December 5 last year.
Mr Lowe added: “The van was searched and was found to contain a large number of trainers in their boxes and, due to the poor finish and smell of glue, he was arrested and the van seized.”
A receipt proved Rangzeb knew he was carrying counterfeit goods, Mr Lowe added.
Trading standards officers found 1,436 boxed pairs of fake Nike trainers, bearing the registered Swish trademark, ranging in price from Air Max 90 up to Air Max 95.
Mr Lowe said legitimate Nike trainers sold between £85 to £120, but the document discovered in Rangzeb’s van showed the counterfeit sneakers cost about £15 each.
The father-of-two, from Holly Road in Thornton Lodge, claimed he was just a courier and denied involvement in selling fake goods.
But trading standards officers suspected otherwise and covertly filmed him at Ingoldmells Market in Lincolnshire where they bought a pair of Nike trainers from his stall.
Rangzeb pleaded guilty before Northampton Magistrates last month to possessing counterfeit goods contrary to the Trades Mark Act 1994.
He was sentenced to a 12-month community order and must do 150 hours’ unpaid work and now faces prosecution, court costs and a financial penalty under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This case will be held in February.
Brian Treadwell, mitigating, said: “My client did not know the goods he was carrying were counterfeit, but accepts he did not make reasonable checks to ensure they were legitimate.”