A DISTRIBUTOR who supplied fake Italian sunglasses to a ‘prestigious’ nationwide chain of opticians in Spain has been arrested following a complaint from the manufacturer.

The Policia Nacional and customs officials from the Tax Agency inspected 12 stores belonging to the same unnamed optical company as well as a warehouse belonging to the firm.

719 counterfeit items including 290 fake designer sunglasses with a retail value of €43,000 were seized during the police operation.

Officers visited premises in the Barcelona, Ciudad Real, Valencia, Burgos, Cuenca, Mallorca, Murcia, Alicante, Granada and Madrid areas.

Besides the arrest of the sole director of the company that supplied the glasses, employees at the 12 shops have all been classified as ‘witnesses’.

Investigations started after police got a complaint from the Italian company that makes the upmarket sunglasses, saying that fakes were being sold in Spain.

The probe led officers to a man who previously worked for the manufacturer and who had owned some optical stores himself.

His experience of the trade allowed him to sell the counterfeit glasses to the chain of opticians, where customers bought the products with full confidence that they were genuine.

Expert police officers analysed the fake-branded items taken from the shops and confirmed they were bogus.

It’s not known how many people ended up buying the counterfeit products.

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