Published: 13:48, 25 October 2015
A mobile accessories firm was handed an £8,000 fine after pleading guilty to stocking and selling fake phone cases.
The directors of Mobile Street Limited, which has a store in Maidstone's Chequers Centre, also admitted a separate charge of supplying a dangerous USB phone charger that did not meet safety requirements.
Maidstone Magistrates' Court heard the firm, which also owns stores in Sevenoaks, Ashford, Sheerness and Sittingbourne came to the attention of Kent County Council Trading Standards last year during a campaign targeting unsafe mobile phone chargers.
Karina Vickerman, prosecuting for KCC, said an officer visiting the Sheerness store in High Street noticed an unbranded mobile phone charger without proper instructions for use. Four were taken to be tested by experts with one found at risk of causing an electric shock.
While at the store, the officer saw phone cases with the Apple and Blackberry trademark and some items were seized.
A Trading Standards investigation also found the company was stocking fake phone cases with trademarks including Cath Kidston, Nintendo, Liverpool and Manchester United football clubs at its Sittingbourne, Sheerness and Ashford branches.
But the prosecution withdrew charges of the possession of 50 fake Blackberry cases which were not on sale when they were taken from the Sittingbourne store.
Magistrates heard how Mobile Street's directors Stephen Moon and Stephen White shared the business between them, with Mr White taking responsibility for purchasing most stock. He was unable to provide officers with satisfactory receipts proving the origin of the phone cases.
Overall about £2,000 of stock was seized.
Ben Croft, defending, said the goods seized were just a handful that had "slipped through the drag net among thousands of others."
He added: "It needs to borne in mind the vast proportion of goods in these stores is clean without a shadow of a doubt."
Mr Croft added the company directors felt the dangerous phone charger in question was not something the company would have ordered in bulk, and was likely to have been a one-off internet purchase by a member of staff on behalf of a customer.
Steps had also been taken, Mr Croft said, to ensure fake accessories would not slip into the supply chain again.
Mobile Street was ordered to pay £8,766, including a £3,000 fine, costs of £5,646 and a £120 victim surcharge.