Gang behind fake Persil powder scam due in court

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SIX men were today due to being sentenced for their part in an international plot to sell fake soap powder.

They were involved in a scam that saw counterfeit powder shipped from China to a warehouse in Winsford. Five admitted charges in January, but a sixth man was convicted by a jury at Chester Crown Court last month.

Steven Charlesworth, aged 46, from Highfield Avenue, Cheadle; 38-year-old Justin Campbell, of Ferndown Drive, Newcastle; Martin Forrester, aged 39, from Oakwood Road, Blurton; 42-year-old Nicholas Moult, of Beaumont Rise, Stoke; and Michael Baggaley, aged 24, from Silverdale Road, Newcastle, all admitted possessing the fake washing powder between September 1 and 30, 2008.

Richard Brayford of Stonehaven, Whiston, was convicted of being part of a scam involving “low-grade” detergent being shipped from China to Suffolk to flood the black market with fake Persil.  The 43-year-old faced trial on a charge under section 92 of the Trade Marks Act of possessing an infringing article with a view to sale.

During the five-day trial, the jury heard the six played a role in the soap powder scam. The detergent, which had no bleach content, was driven to a warehouse in Winsford, Cheshire, where the gang hid 2,900 empty replica Persil boxes, described as “almost perfect” copies.

But their scam failed after chemicals giant Unilever hired a private investigator, and all of the men, except for Brayford, were caught at the warehouse.

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