A COUPLE from Widnes have been convicted of selling fake sportswear and cosmetics on Facebook, after a three-year investigation by Halton Borough Council Trading Standards.

David Newton of Cronton Lane Mews, Widnes, pleaded guilty at Warrington Magistrates' Court to eight charges of selling counterfeit Adidas, Nike, and North Face sportswear along with MAC cosmetics.

His partner, Louise Forshaw, of the same address, pleaded guilty to two charges of offering for sale a counterfeit Nike tracksuit and a MAC cosmetics gift set.

The investigation began in December 2017 when one of the council’s Trading Standards enforcement officers identified two separate Facebook accounts that he believed was involved in the sale of counterfeit goods, including sportswear, perfume, jewellery, candles and cosmetics.

Images of the items being offered for sale were captured and sent to brand holders who were able to confirm that the goods were counterfeit.

A painstaking investigation into the bank accounts of the individuals behind the accounts was undertaken, which revealed that goods were being distributed around the country

The couple were sentenced to unpaid work on Monday, October 12.

Halton Borough Council's executive board member for Trading Standards, cllr Dave Cargill, said: "We take action against such people because of the impact they have on the local economy and the possible safety risks.

"Counterfeit goods do not undergo any quality testing and do not meet the stringent safety requirements required of legitimate goods.

"Legitimate local businesses will suffer considerable losses in an already difficult economic climate, whilst individuals like Newton and Forshaw flout the law."

Newton has to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work within 12 months under a community order.

He was fined £400, as to pay a victim surcharge of £85 and a contribution towards prosecution costs of £2,800.

Forshaw has to undertake 50 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitative activity for 20 days, both within 12 months under the community order.

She also has to pay a victim surcharge of £85 and a contribution towards prosecution costs of £500.