Wolves and city council launch campaign against 'fake goods' outside Molineux
Football merchandise has been seized from traders operating outside Molineux - as Wolves and the city council launched a campaign against fake goods.
One trader said he had 40 badges seized by Trading Standards last week and was ordered not to sell merchandise bearing the club's logo.
It comes after letters were sent out to independent traders warning them of possible court action and seizures over counterfeit Wolves goods. The campaign has been launched to protect the club's identity.
A copy of the letter, seen by the Express & Star, said: "City of Wolverhampton Council Trading Standards Service and Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club are currently taking joint action to protect the intellectual property of the club.
"Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is a large employer locally, and an important landmark for the city.
"This action will involve advice to traders, seizure/signing over where infringing goods are found, and prosecution where breaches are serious enough to justify public interest, or where offences continue."
The letter continued: "We have information in our possession suggesting that you are involved in the supply of football memorabilia which breaches the above legislation, by bearing unauthorised registered trademarks belonging to Premier League clubs.
"To avoid committing offences we would expect you to take all reasonable steps and exercise all due diligence to avoid the supply of unauthorised goods."
In law, the sale of copyrighted goods comes under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
"A person guilty of this type of offence is liable on conviction to a potentially unlimited fine, or imprisonment at crown court for a term not exceeding ten years, or both," the letter added.
Before every home game, traders sell football merchandise and memorabilia outside the grounds of the stadium. It is understood traders have been sent letters which went to their home addresses.
'They are getting greedy'
Craig Weatherer spoke with the Express & Star regarding rumours that traders could lose their licence.
He helps to run a stall selling football memorabilia. His father has run a stall outside the ground since 1978.
Mr Weatherer said: "Last week we had badges taken off us. There was about 40 badges taken off us to do with trading standards.
"We are not allowed to use any of the logos, like the Wolves head. The club are trying to buy everything around here. They are just getting greedy to be honest.
"We pay a council licence, I have got a card in my pocket. We don't really know what is going, we just can feel something coming."
He added: "We are p***** off. We will try to make objections. We don't know what rights we have got or what we can do."
However the mood wasn't all negative. One trader, who wished to remain anonymous, said the relationship between the club and traders has improved.
It came after he said rumours circulated during Wolves' first season back in the Premier League in 2018/19 that traders could lose their licence.
The unnamed trader, who has been operating a stall for more than 20 years, said: "There has been impending speculation, rumours, for a long time (regarding our licences).
"I have received the application forms (for a licence) which I have filled in and taken to the civic centre. The next stage is they send the okay out with the licences which runs from April 1 every year.
"At this point, that seems likely it will be the case, although there has been contradictory (remarks).
"The relationship from the club has improved."
Before the game on Sunday, Wolves' head of retail paid a visit to traders in a bid to hold positive discussions and reassure them on their futures.
It is understood Wolves does not want to do battle with traders but instead work with them.
A council spokeswoman said: “The letter in question went to two specific street traders’ as they were believed to be selling goods with trade mark infringements and not complying with the law.
“Following this, goods were also seized from street traders during an operation Thursday evening. As a council, it’s important we carry out these important operations to ensure traders are complying with the law and to protect the public.”