Banbury conman jailed over £1m fake football memorabilia fraud

A Liverpool FC shirt sold by FA Premier Signings supposedly signed by the whole squad. Photo courtesy of Dorset County Council NNL-180115-152219001
A Liverpool FC shirt sold by FA Premier Signings supposedly signed by the whole squad. Photo courtesy of Dorset County Council NNL-180115-152219001

A Banbury man who made £1m selling fake signed football memorabilia was jailed for nearly six years after being caught with the help of Wayne Rooney

David Rennie was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday (February 16).

Trading standards officers revealed a Banbury couple's fake business by buying a shirt purportedly signed by footballer Wayne Rooney, pictured at a real signing with old club Manchester United FC, which was proven to be forged. Photo: Dorset County Council NNL-180115-152209001

Trading standards officers revealed a Banbury couple's fake business by buying a shirt purportedly signed by footballer Wayne Rooney, pictured at a real signing with old club Manchester United FC, which was proven to be forged. Photo: Dorset County Council NNL-180115-152209001

The 46-year-old, of Stroud Close, was found guilty of running a fraudulent business and money laundering at the same court last month.

Judge Peter Crabtree told David Rennie: “You have brought this upon yourself. This was a sophisticated and long-standing fraud.”

The court heard that over a nine-year period, Rennie’s business, trading as FA Premier Signings, had made more the £1m by selling faked memorabilia to over 4,500 customers worldwide.

Dorset County Council principal trading standards officer Neil Martin said: “This sends a very clear message to those dealing in fake memorabilia.

“Rennie will spend a considerable amount of time in prison. His actions have left many victims with worthless signed items which they paid substantial sums for.

“As well as defrauding his victims, he also adversely affected sales for legitimate memorabilia dealers.

“Our advice to anyone looking to purchase football memorabilia would be to ask for a photograph of the player signing the item.

“Many items are supplied with a certificate of authenticity, but, as this case has shown, these are easy to forge and do not prove the item is genuine.

“If anyone suspects they have been sold or offered fake items, they should initially contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.”

His wife Clare Rennie, who helped her husband run the business, pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The 45-year-old, of Hamilton Close, will be sentenced on February 27.

Rooney helps reveal Banbury couple’s £1m fake football memorabilia fraud