‘Shocked’ businesswoman found with stolen Asian clothing

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A dishonest Burnley businesswoman who had £27,000 worth of stolen designer Asian clothing was selling it on a stall in a local community centre, a court was told.

Single mother-of-four Sameena Adil Najib (40) was flogging part of the proceeds of a Bradford robbery. Three thousand items of high-quality clothing, worth up to £600 each, had been taken in the raid on a shop, but Najib had bought 180 garments for just £8-a-piece from a van and had been getting rid of unique dresses for only £25-a-time.

She has no previous convictions and is a vulnerable victim herself, who has been targeted. She has done everything she can to assist the police and assist this court today

Solicitor

Najib, who is self-employed, told police she got the clothing from a vehicle bearing the name Iqbal Textiles, in Bradford, and claimed she genuinely believed she was buying legitimate items. She says she was “shocked and ashamed” when she learned they had been stolen, Burnley magistrates heard.

The defendant, who had never been in trouble before, could have been locked up, but was spared. Najib, of Colne Road, Burnley, admitted handling stolen goods in Nelson, on June 20th. She was given six months in prison, suspended for a year, with an eight-week curfew, between 9pm and 7am, seven days a week. The defendant, who gets child benefits and child tax credits, was ordered to pay £300 compensation.

Bench chairman Mr Neil Tranmer told the defendant: “We have noted you are a lady of previous good character and co-operated fully with the police investigation.”

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson told the hearing Vishaal Anand owned the shop, in the Bradford area. He designed the clothes, which sold for between £150 and £600 and had unique labels attached to them.

His premises were burgled on June 5th and around 3,000 items of clothing stolen. He was made aware the clothing was being sold at a venue in Burnley, he attended, identified his clothing and called the police.

The prosecutor continued: “Police seized 76 items from the stall and recovered a further 104 items from her home address. The bulk of the items which came into the possession of the defendant have been recovered and returned to the owner. He hasn’t got the full 3,000 items back.”

Mr Robinson said when Najib was interviewed, she told police she went to Bradford, clothes were being sold from a van, she spoke to people there and bought £1,500 worth of items. He went on: “On these figures, she would have paid around £8 for each piece of clothing, that was worth a minimum of £150. She said she took the clothing home and sold between four and eight dresses for around £25 to £30 each. The minimum value would be £1,200.”

Waseem Chowdhary, in mitigation, said Najib went to Bradford, saw a van with Iqbal Textiles on it and the clothing there attracted her attention.

The solicitor continued: “She said in interview she saw the prices were quite cheap and she spoke to other ladies and the owner, who provided her with a receipt for £1,500. She asked the chap why he was selling these clothes so cheap and the answer provided was that he was moving to Pakistan and needed to sell the items.”

Mr Chowdhary said Najib was “quite emotional” in interview. The police officer confirmed she was an easy target and he found her to be a vulnerable victim. He continued: “The police wouldn’t have known where the goods were without her assistance. She invited the police to her home.”

The solicitor said there was no suggestion the defendant was part of any burglary or robbery. He went on: “It’s a clear offence of handling stolen goods. She was honest and truthful in interview, she co-operated with the police and if it wasn’t for her co-operation, the further 104 items wouldn’t have been recovered.

“She has lost her £1,500. She tells me that since this incident she has been suffering from depression, thinking what is going to happen to her. She has no previous convictions and is a vulnerable victim herself, who has been targeted. She has done everything she can to assist the police and assist this court today.”

A probation officer who interviewed Najib told the court she told her she genuinely believed she was going to buy legitimate clothing and was convinced by the ladies there that they were. She was shocked and ashamed when she learned they were stolen.

The officer added: “She says she does have clothing sent to her from Pakistan that she goes to a local community centre and sells. She is self-employed.”