The owners of tartan souvenir shops have been fined £4,500 for selling Chinese-made cashmere clothes along side shelf labels saying "Made in Scotland."
Gold Brothers own stores in Edinburgh's Royal Mile and have already pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of "misleading" customers. The charge comes after trading standards officers carried out two test purchases in 2009. After establishing the garments were of Chinese origin, officers visited the store and seized 293 cashmere jumpers.
The products were all described on the "shelf-edge label" as Scottish but were subsequently identified as having been imported from China. Further investigations of the UK supplier discovered that the owners of Gold Brothers knew the garments were from outside of Scotland.
As reported by BBC News, officers questioned an employee in the shop who admitted he knew the labels were inaccurate but failed to take any action to remove them. The court heard the shelf previously held items made in Scotland, but the labels had not been removed and that "human error" had been made by the staff.
Management say that they had been unaware of this and were also unaware of the visit by trading standards. Trading as Adercrombie Cashmere, Gold Brothers pleaded guilty last month, and sentence was passed at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh City Council's environmental leader said: "It is important for Edinburgh's reputation and Scotland's tourist industry that goods are accurately described and are genuine. We are committed to protecting the reputation of Scottish manufacturers and ensuring that goods which have a misleading product description are identified and removed from sale."