A MAN charged with importing, selling and swapping high value counterfeit golf equipment has been sentenced to 16 months in jail.

Jack Colecliffe, 24, of Bryn Mor, Gronant, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of Fraud, one charge of participating in a fraudulent business between December 2012 and January 2017 and nine charges of dishonestly, making false representations, along with seven Trade Marks offences.

Denbighshire County Council’s Trading Standards team has welcomed the sentencing. He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment at Mold Crown Court by Judge Niclas Parry.

Colecliffe came to the attention of the Acushnet Company, owners of the Titleist and Scotty Cameron (SC) Trade Marks in August 2016 when they discovered him selling Scotty Cameron branded putter grips.

Acushnet Company contacted Denbighshire Trading Standards in October 2016 and an investigation was started.

Whilst investigations were underway, Acushnet Company and Denbighshire Trading Standards received 12 complaints from individuals from America, Germany and across the UK who had been targeted by Mr Colecliffe and had swapped genuine Scotty Cameron Putters and Head Covers for counterfeit copy putters to the value of approximately £25,000.

In January 2017, a warrant was executed at the address he was at, in Prestatyn, and a large quantity of putters in kit form were found along with some of the swapped property, amongst other items valued at around £65,000.

Both his mobile telephone and laptop computer were also seized.

Forensic examination of the telephone and laptop revealed a massive amount of evidence in the form of invoices and chat messaging between Colecliffe and his supplier in China, known as ‘Wilson’.

More than 20,000 pages of data were recovered from the laptop and phone, with over 2,000 pages of chat messages with Wilson alone.

These chats identified that Colecliffe was sourcing and sending specific Scotty Cameron putters to be copied by Wilson in China.

The chats records went into great detail about the materials to be used, weight, colour and finish of the product and even the research about Certificates of Authenticity, shaft stickers and packing bar codes that should accompany each club.

Emlyn Jones, Denbighshire’ s head of planning and Public Protection, said: “This case initially started out looking like a young lad selling a few grips and putters from his parents home. This quickly turned into a very complex investigation spanning the globe and uncovered what was a very sophisticated and detailed fraud.

“The level of detail that was demanded by Jack Colecliffe for copies that he wanted producing in China, was specifically done to pass these products off as genuine and convince collectors of Scotty Cameron merchandise that they were buying and swapping genuine products.

“The hope that this prosecution send out a clear message that his activity will not be tolerated and working with brand holders, we will investigate and prosecute any individual who chooses to operate such a business.

Lisa Rogan, Acushnet Company ‘s Director of Brand Protection, said “We will continue to work vigorously with other golf manufacturers and law enforcement to send a clear message to those who profit from the selling and manufacturing of counterfeit goods. Counterfeit golf equipment has been on the rise, and we have made a serious commitment to protect our brands and intellectual property. We are grateful to Denbighshire Trading Standards for their work in bringing this case to court.”

Denbighshire County Council were complemented for its “painstaking and thorough investigation”.