Mastermind behind Rotherham’s biggest dodgy goods haul sentenced

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A man who stashed counterfeit clothing and DVDs at a Hellaby warehouse in the largest seizure Rotherham police has known, has been sentenced.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Ian Cleeton, 51, from Sheffield, was first arrested in May 2010 following a lengthy joint investigation.

South Yorkshire Police’s Rotherham money laundering team, Rotherham Trading Standards Department and government officers from HMRC worked together to bring the prosecution.

A warehouse on Sandbeck Way, Hellaby Industrial Estate, was raided where they found 28 pallets of boxes full of counterfeit clothes and DVDs.

Enquiries led police to a second warehouse in Shalesmoor, Sheffield, where another 150 boxes of dodgy clothes were found.

This is where Cleeton and his business partner were arrested.

He admitted the offences under the Tradesmark Act, but his business partner was found not guilty after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court back in March.

Cleeton was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work.

“This has been a lengthy investigation, involving good partnership working with the police, trading Standards, HMRC and Crown Prosecution Service,” said Detective Sergeant Rob Platts of Rotherham Money Laundering Team.

“This is the largest seizure of its kind ever known in Rotherham borough and one of the biggest seen in South Yorkshire.”

“I would say to anyone out there who thinks they are getting a bargain when buying a cheap counterfeit garment - these items are poorly made from the cheapest of materials.”

“You may think paying £10 for a fake branded shirt is good value, but when considering the shirt is made from material that probably costs pence to make, in my opinion you are being well and truly ripped off.”

“This type of crime may be seen by members of the public almost not to be criminal, however I can say this is organised criminality which has links to child abuse, illegal immigration, drugs and violence to name a few.”

“South Yorkshire Police would like to thank our partner agencies along with all the trademark representatives for their assistance in this investigation.”