Some of the posters on display in Jeffreys' printing room

Colne counterfeiter who made £1.8m selling posters is jailed for three and a half years

A fraudster who illegally made more than £1.8million by creating counterfeit posters has been jailed for more than three and a half years.

Colne counterfeiter Adam Jeffreys was jailed on 19 December 2023 for making and selling counterfeit posters, following action by Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards Service.

The 41-year-old, formerly of Hainslack Farm on Skipton Old Road, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court for offences of infringing copyright and registered trademarks and fraudulent trading between 2014 and 2021.

The court was told that, over the course of seven years, he sold tens of thousands of counterfeit posters. But his empire came crashing down on 3 November 2021 when trading standards officers executed a warrant at the luxury farmhouse he shared with his then-wife and their young daughter.

As well as a large commercial printer and posters packaged and ready to be sent out, officers discovered a hard drive containing many thousands of famous images, including James Bond, Harry Potter and Batman as well as big names in football, TV and music.

Jeffreys, who is believed to have made over 150,000 sales in the UK and Germany under the names of ‘Plymouth Trading Co’, ‘Plakat Welt’ and ‘Poster Station’, tried to convince the court that he had not realised he was doing anything wrong. But his claims fell on deaf ears when the court was told that he faked invoices and sent fictitious emails in a bid to show his posters were legitimate.

It also emerged that, throughout his offending, Jeffreys had a day job with a leading UK poster manufacturer, who he had kept completely unaware of his illegal sideline – even blaming a relative for making a malicious complaint against him when it looked like he might be exposed.

In May 2021, Jeffreys had used his official work email to plead on behalf of his 'customers' – who were really his own businesses – after steps had been taken to block him from selling online. Investigations later revealed that he had registered one of the businesses in his then-wife's name at a previous address.

The court was told that on a single day in October 2021, a trading standards officer found 6,400 different designs of poster being advertised for sale, typically at £8.99 plus postage.

Sentencing Adam Jeffreys to 43 months' imprisonment, His Honour Judge Jeffries KC described him as "a liar, who had operated with a brazen disregard for licensing and trade mark laws." The Judge said he was satisfied that Jeffreys had made a clear profit of £1million from sales totalling £1,819,783.18.

Proceedings, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to recoup Jeffreys' ill-gotten gains, are adjourned to 22 March for financial inquiries to be carried out. 

Nick McNamara from Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards service said: "This is the longest ever prison sentence imposed in a case brought by our Trading Standards team, whose hard work and dedication was vital in bringing this offender to book.

"Legitimate businesses work hard to build brand awareness and have a right to be protected from pirates who steal their intellectual property rights. As well as a lengthy jail term, Jeffreys faces action that will see him stripped of his assets and his luxury lifestyle on his release."