* indicates required

Businessman jailed for selling thousands of counterfeit Sky remote controls

Stephen Usher, director of Super Satellite Man Ltd and Sky Satellites Ltd, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to four offences including fraudulent trading.

It followed a test operation by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team in September 2015 after they received intelligence from Sky about possible counterfeit products being sold by Super Satellite Man and Sky Satellites, based at Millbrook near Ampthill.

The test operation confirmed the products being sold were counterfeit. They totalled more than 45,000 remote control inits, the court heard. 

A warrant was executed in February 2016 and 13,919 counterfeit remote controls were seized, the biggest seizure of Sky products in the country to date.

The court heard that Usher’s enterprise, which was trading between September 2011 and February 2016, was extremely sophisticated and run on a very large scale. It involved the creation, importation, and sale to consumers of counterfeit remote controls and a number of other legitimate products which he sold via numerous trader’s accounts on online trading sites.

Usher was interviewed in September 2016, where he admitted that he was responsible for buying stock and admitted that he had set up the manufacturing contacts in China for the counterfeit remotes, also visiting the factory that manufactured them.

He stated that when he started supplying remotes he had bought them in bulk from a UK wholesaler. He said that he did not realise they were counterfeit at first but he became aware that they were counterfeit as time went on.

At Luton Crown Court in December, Usher admitted fraudulent trading contrary to Companies Act, fraud contrary to the Fraud Act, unauthorised use of a trade mark contrary to Trade Marks Act and possession of an article for use in a fraud contrary to the Fraud Act.

As well as jailing Usher for 28 months, the judge agreed that the benefit from the criminality was £145,000 and made a confiscation order of £60,874.04. Usher was also ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £47,000. 

Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Central Bedfordshire Council’s executive member for community services, said: "Businesses may be tempted to sell counterfeit products to unsuspecting members of the public in a bid to make a bit of extra money. But often these counterfeit products are poorly made, which shortchanges the customer.

“This sends out a clear message that we take this matter very seriously and that we will do everything we can to protect the public from fake goods.

“If you are caught then you will be investigated and are likely to end up with not only a large fine but, in this case, a prison sentence.” 

More from Bedford: