THE owner of a Dorset-based online fancy dress business has been ordered to pay out more than £65,000 after misusing trademarks from Disney and Warner Bros.

Michelea Mariner, who lives in Ralph Road, Corfe Mullen, sold goods with marks 'identical' to Batman and Superman logos. She also sold a child's Harry Potter cape with a Hogwarts logo on it.

The 49-year-old appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting seven offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 of selling, advertising and possessing costumes bearing illegal copies of registered trademarks.

The court heard Mariner sold costumes online via business The Hen Party Store, which trades as Henpartiesandmore, from her home address.

Most of the costumes were aimed at women on hen parties.

Following a complaint to Trading Standards by a licensed supplier of similar goods, officers made test purchases and later obtained a warrant to enter Mariner's home.

During the raid, which took place in July 2018, the team seized almost 200 costumes and business-related documents and computer equipment.

Investigations revealed that most of the costumes being sold were illegal copies of costumes bearing trademarked images such as Superwoman, Snow White, Supergirl, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Batman, all of which were being used without permission of the trademark owners.

In October 2017, Etsy – one of the internet-based selling platforms Mariner was using – contacted her advising that she was selling trademark-infringing copies.

The defendant was told her online shop would be closed on the site.

However, it was heard that Mariner continued selling through a number of other online outlets.

Mariner has now been given a three-year conditional discharge. A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order was made for £65,000, with a further £1,500 towards prosecution costs.

In addition, a forfeiture order was made for the 196 costumes seized from Mariner's home by Trading Standards.

The case was initially prosecuted by Dorset County Council and concluded by Dorset Council following an investigation into Mariner’s finances.

Ivan Hancock, service manager for Trading Standards at Dorset Council, said: “The sale of counterfeit goods can have a seriously detrimental effect on legitimate businesses selling genuine goods, as well as damaging the business of trademark owners.

"We will continue to take enforcement action in appropriate cases and undertake the financial investigations necessary to recover proceeds of crime.

"Any Dorset business requiring guidance on compliance with trade mark law or other trading standards legislation can call the trading standards business advice line on 01305 224702."