A teacher dealt £10,000s worth of fake football tops over seven years after starting off selling to “friends and family”, a court has heard.

A police investigation found that 29-year-old Ahmed Hafeji had been using social media to sell counterfeit Nike, Adidas and Puma branded kits all over the country between 2016 and 2023.

Bolton Crown Court heard how police carried out a “test purchase” from Hafeji’s home on Quebec Street in Deane before searching the house and finding materials marked "Hafe's Kit".

Judge Nicholas Clarke KC said: “There was a Hafe’s Kit business card, a Hafe’s Kit banner and Hafe’s Kit boxes full of kits.”

He added: “The defendant made a full confession in interview, he said that he had been buying replica shirts for six or seven years, initially for friends and family but that this eventually became a substantial business.”

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

The court heard how police officers carried out the test purchase after border force raised alarm about a package addressed to Hafeji’s home.

They then found that Hafeji had around £25,000 in a Monzo bank account, which was since put on hold by Barclays.

On searching his Quebec Street home, officers found 117 different notes about counterfeit football kits on Hafeji’s phone.

They covered 2,786 counterfeit football kits, 186 counterfeit tracksuits and 88 other counterfeit items.

Hafeji, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to offences against the Trademark Act when brought before the magistrates court.

Judge Clarke said that the “total loss to the industry” came to around £240,000.

He said: “It is well known that those who purchase these kits for their children will often be disappointed when they find that they are counterfeit.”

Judge Clarke heard from prosecutor Bob Sastry how Hafeji had around £68,000 frozen in his bank account and a further £43,000 in his wife’s account.

When question directly by the judge, Hafeji confirmed that around £70,000 is frozen in his in-laws’ account.

Gabriele Watts, defending, accepted these amounts and that a later Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will work out how this can be dealt with.

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But the court heard that Hafeji also earned a legitimate income as a teacher and he was also both a learning coach and a safeguarding lead as well as continue to earn teaching qualifications.

Though Judge Clarke said that Hafeji “clearly hadn’t thought about the impact on the companies or the legitimate industry”, he acknowledged that he was also “clearly remorseful".

He sentenced the defendant to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.

Hafeji is expected to return to court in March next year for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.