AN EASTBOURNE man who was caught with thousands of counterfeit car accessories has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Mark Tykva, 36, of Wannock Lane, Eastbourne was sentenced on Friday, January 21 to 12 months’ custody suspended for two years with a requirement to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

His sentencing follows a four-day trial at Brighton Crown Court last month when the jury unanimously found him guilty of eight counts of breaching the Trade Marks Act. He was convicted of having in his possession for sale 4,569 counterfeit car parts.

Tykva was also convicted of selling counterfeit car parts through “test purchases” made by East Sussex Trading Standards and the car companies, and for advertising 69 fake BMW products for sale on his website.

Following an investigation by East Sussex Trading Standards in 2019, after concerns were raised by a representative of BMW, officers found just under 10,000 bogus car badges and accessories at Tykva’s home address.

The counterfeit products were stored in two garden sheds and included items branded BMW, Porsche, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Mini.

The equivalent retail value of the goods seized if they were genuine was in excess of £200,000.

Richard Strawson, East Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “This conviction marks the end of a long running Trading Standards investigation and we are pleased to see the defendant found guilty and sentenced accordingly.

“Selling counterfeit goods not only breaches trade marks legislation but harms the trade of legitimate suppliers and damages consumer confidence.

“This successful prosecution sends a strong message to anyone thinking of dealing in counterfeit goods that this activity will not be tolerated and highlights our commitment to prosecuting such individuals.”

The council is pursuing confiscation proceedings against the offender to recover the benefits of his criminal enterprise.

Sentencing Tykva, Recorder Nicholas Yeo said: “Your offending took place over 15 months. The jury rejected your account that you believed on reasonable grounds that the goods were genuine. I am quite satisfied that you lied.”

Recorder Yeo also made an order for the forfeiture and destruction of all the items seized.

For consumer advice, or to report a concern to Trading Standards, people can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133, or use their online reporting page which can be found at www.eastsussex.gov.uk