Police said they caught a £394,241 fake underwear ring “with their pants down” after a Hertfordshire raid.

A trio - two of whom are from Letchworth - who sold counterfeit designer briefs, boxers, and T-shirts online and then laundered the proceeds were sentenced in Southwark Crown Court on November 10 after a City of London Police operation.

In March 2017, a legitimate brand issued a cease-and-desist notice to a seller account on eBay called FANCY_Index, which sold counterfeit luxury underwear.

Although the items were initially removed from sale, the account then changed its name to TRUE.STYLES. and resumed offering fakes in July of that year.

The case was referred to police in September 2017 and officers found that from October 2015 to August 2017, 18,567 pieces of counterfeit underwear were sold from the account for a total of £249,327, and 8,107 counterfeit T-shirts were sold for a total of £144,914.

Multiple payments between different accounts linked Pathum Don, Bashir Elsawahli, and Guncha Elsawahli to the seller.

Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit officers executed search warrants in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, on December 19, 2017, and arrested Bashir Elsawahli. They seized 2,383 counterfeit clothes and Bashir Elsawahli’s mobile phone and laptop, which further linked him to Don.

During police interviews, Bashir Elsawahli stated that he believed all of the counterfeit clothing seized was genuine. He said that Don ran the eBay account, and controlled the bank accounts and payments associated with it.

Don and Guncha Elsawahli answered no comment to all questions asked.

Detective Constable Geoff Holbrook said: “Despite being aware that selling fake goods to the public is against the law, Pathum Don, Bashir Elsawahli and Guncha Elsawahli continued to operate an illegal business.

"They went to great lengths to try and disguise the source of their income by transferring sums of cash through various bank accounts.

“When their activity was discovered by police, the group didn’t admit what they had done.

"Unfortunately for them, we had a large amount of evidence that showed they had earned hundreds of thousands of pounds from an illegal activity.”

Pathum Percy Ponweera Arachchige Don, 36, of Talwin Street, Tower Hamlets, was given 150 hours of unpaid work and a 21-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Bashir Elsawahli, 44, of Fleetwood, Letchworth, was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for 18 months and rehabilitation activity.

Guncha Elsawahli, 45, of Fleetwood, Letchworth, was handed a 12-month community order and must complete 75 hours of unpaid work.

Don was found guilty of unauthorised use of a trademark, on September 27, 2023, and Bashir Elsawahli and Guncha Elsawahli pleaded guilty to to the unauthorised use of a trademark and transferring criminal property.