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Counterfeit goods handler Guarcharan Singh faces 10 years in jail

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

A Medway man has been told he will be jailed for 10 years unless he can come up with more than £3m in the next six months.

Guarcharan Singh, 41, from Chatham was handed a two-year suspended sentence at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday for handling £5,000 of counterfeit goods.

But if he can't find £3,293,796 by next June that will become a 10-year jail term.

The order came after a joint investigation by Kent Police and Kent Trading Standards - believed to be the largest amount ever laid down in a Trading Standards case in the country.

In October 2006 search warrants were executed as a result of investigations that had been carried out at a number of businesses across Kent.

Guarcharan Singh, was found with £5,000 of counterfeit luxury handbags, shoes and sunglasses.

On September 7 the following year at Canterbury Crown Court, Singh was subsequently charged with 43 counts of possessing and selling fake goods in his shop, Chockers in Ashford, and at a market stall in Folkestone. Counterfeit stock was also found in his warehouse in Chatham.

By then trading standards officers had already carried out a lengthy investigation on Singh. including test purchases.

Kent Police's Serious Economic Crime unit (SECU) and Kent Trading Standards obtained a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act which allowed them to recover cash and assets obtained by criminal activity.

KCC Cabinet Member for Community Services Mike Hill said:
"This case and the outcome is the result of a huge amount of work on the part of Kent Trading Standards and the Kent Police Financial Investigators and I want to commend them for all their efforts. People who think they can profit from these crimes should realise, we will do all we can to bring them to justice and take counterfeit goods off Kent's streets."

Detective Inspector Mark Fairhurst of Kent Police's Serious Economic Crime Unit (SECU) says: "Any cash and assets which criminals have accrued through illegal activity can be recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

"Our forensic accountants investigated Singh's accounts and examined his lifestyle. It was clear that Singh's lifestyle was not supported by his legitimate business.

Det Insp Fairhurst added: "This is the largest confiscation order achieved by Kent Police and is a direct result of Kent Police and Kent Trading standards working together to tackle organised crime. This underpins the message that crime does not pay."

The fake shoes, handbags, purses and jewellery have now been ordered to be destroyed.

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