A Leytonstone woman narrowly avoided a jail sentence after Waltham Forest Council officers caught her selling knock-off makeup on eBay.

Srijana Rai, of Lincoln Street, Leytonstone, was caught after Waltham Forest Council received a tip-off she was selling Benefit mascaras with a retail price of £17 for just £4.99.

Officers searched her flat and found almost 400 tubes of fake mascara and other counterfeit products, all purchased from a supplier in China.

She was sentenced at Thames Magistrates Court on March 15 to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay more than £1,350 in costs.

Rai, who bought fakes of popular brands like Kylie, Kat Von D, MAC and Anastasia Beverly Hills, insisted she had no idea the products were fake.

However, she admitted she had done nothing to check they were genuine or even safe to use, despite errors like the word “cosmetics” being misspelled on the packaging.

A fake product where cosmetics and some other words are spelled wrong (WF Council)

A fake product where "cosmetics" and some other words are spelled wrong (WF Council)

A council spokesperson said: “Counterfeit cosmetics pose a serious public health risk for consumers and the rise of e-commerce has made it all too easy for sellers to ply their wares.

“People think they are getting a premium product at a good price but in fact can be applying inferior or even dangerous products on their face.

“Investigations have found that the vast majority of counterfeit make-up is produced in unsanitary conditions with little or no quality control.”

Rai must pay £1,358.65 in total and will pay it back at a rate of £100 each month, while the illegal products seized will be destroyed.

After pleading guilty to 14 offences at Thames Magistrates Court she was told she could face a custodial sentence but avoided a jail sentence in part due to her early admission of guilt.

Anyone with concerns about unsafe or fake products can contact Waltham Forest Trading Standards on 0208 496 3000 or tradingstandards@walthamforest.gov.uk.

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