Gang behind fake Persil powder scam due in court

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

They were involved in a scam which 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 all 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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