A DISHONEST shopkeeper who sold fake Willy Wonka chocolate bars to the public has been fined.
Malcolm Reade flogged the counterfeit confectionery from his shop in Musselburgh, East Lothian, to unsuspecting chocolate lovers.
But Reade’s scam was soon rumbled when Trading Standards officials pounced on his tiny shop after receiving an anonymous tip-off.
The inspectors confiscated two of the popular Wonka bars and sent them to manufacturer Nestle who subsequently confirmed the chocolate was counterfeit.
When confronted Reade, 50, admitted selling the bogus bars to the public, and to giving away further bars of the chocolate as samples.
Reade pleaded guilty to selling Wonka Bars which bear packaging likely to be mistaken for a registered trademark on 29 November 2013 during an appearance at Haddington Sheriff Court on Wednesday.
The court was also told Reade, from Newtongrange in Midlothian, had sold the fake chocolate bars on a previous occasion, for which he received a fiscal warning.
Depute fiscal Brent Bissett told the court: “Trading Standards received intelligence regarding the sale of fake bars from the locus and officers attended there.
“They spoke to the accused and seized two bars which were subsequently sent to Nestle. These were examined and found to be counterfeit by misuse of the trademark.
“The previous conviction is for exactly the same offence.”
Reade, who defended himself during his court appearance, said he was “about to close the shop” due to financial difficulties.
He added: “I am so far in [rent] arrears that I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel.
“I sold a couple [of the Wonka Bars] and gave a couple away as samples.”
Sheriff Peter Braid said: “You knew the bars were faked and you admit the previous conviction for which you received a fiscal warning.
“Members of the public were misled, but I have to balance others doing the same thing against the small number of bars, and your restricted financial circumstances.”
Sheriff Braid decided to fine the shopkeeper £300.
Nestle introduced the popular Wonka Bars last year as a tribute to the classic Roald Dahl book and subsequent movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
In the 1964 fictional tale, Charlie and his granddad win a visit to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory after finding a bar containing one of the elusive golden tickets.
The enduring story has been made into a musical, a video game, a radio play and two movies.
The second adaption for the big screen was renamed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and starred Hollywood heart-throb Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka.
And in 2006, theme park Alton Towers opened a family attraction based around the characters and story-line of the original book.