Fake poppies seized from Willenhall shop
Fake poppies were seized from a Black Country shop after it was claimed the owners were pocketing the cash raised.
Walsall Trading Standards officers paid a visit to a Willenhall off licence on Friday, after reports that poppy badges were being sold and the money was going into the store's till.
The shop owner initially denied selling poppies, and when officers spotted them by the till the owner said that someone came in and left them so the shop was giving them away, not selling them.
The officers then pointed out that there was a £2.99 sticker above the poppies, and the owner gave no response.
A spokesman for Walsall Council said: "Officers explained that the two petal poppy design is registered by the British Legion as a trade mark, and anything that uses the design or looks like it is counterfeit unless approved by the British Legion.
"Officers went on to seize the poppies and warned the store owner that by selling counterfeit goods he could be fined an unlimited amount and/or jailed for up to 10 years. The owner was also told that he was taking money which should go to a charity."
The poppies will now be destroyed, the council said.
The spokesman added: "Walsall Trading Standards will always seize poppies that are not supplied through official channels, either the British Legion itself or retailers approved by them.
"Even if the design of the poppy is different to that registered as a trademark ‘passing off’ offences can still be committed if they are similar.
"Walsall Trading Standards takes the view that people are being misled if cash for any poppy badge is not going to charity, unless they are clearly and explicitly told this before buying. If retailers want to support the poppy appeal then they should contact their local branch of the Royal British Legion for an official collection box."
The store had previously been visited by the Royal British Legion and had refused a collection box, the spokesman said.
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