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Man who sold fake football shirts for seven years walks free from court

A man who made £100,000 by selling counterfeit football shirts has walked free from court. Ahmed Hafeji, 29, from Bolton, was given a suspended prison sentence.

The 29-year-old sold fake shirts online via social media and in his local community. Officers from the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit seized football shirts, banners and promotional material during raids in May 2023 which, coupled with his online sales, constituted a total loss to the industry of approximately £240,000.

Hefeji. of Quebec Street, pleaded guilty at Bolton Crown Court in August 2023 to the unauthorised use of a trademark. He was sentenced today to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and must complete 240 hours of unpaid work after the court heard he had sold the couterfeit shirts over a seven year period starting in 2016.

Shirts included fakes featuring the names of Manchester City's Erling Haaland and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, as well as others as diverse as Paris St Germain, and Southampton.

Police Constable James Davies from the NWROCU’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit said: “Hafeji operated an illegal business online and in his local community, selling fake football shirts he imported from China, knowing full well it was unlawful to do so”.

“We urge football fans to think twice before buying these counterfeit goods. Whatever savings you think you’re making when buying these goods are often offset by their poor quality and the risks that come from using a product that has been manufactured illegally. The sale of counterfeit goods also diverts funds away from the clubs you support and into the hands of criminals, preventing re-investment.

“Hafeji made more than £100,000 in ill-gotten gains but this