Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Angela Makki duped insurance underwriter Zena Bailey over the auction website. At Hove Crown Court last month she was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to refund the cash.

A jury at the three-day trial heard how Makki, 48, from Gateshead advertised the Louis Vuitton bag on eBay under the user-name Miss Daisy, claiming there were only 2000 of them in the world. The former casino manager claimed to have bought the “extremely rare” limited edition cherry blossom Papillion design from a boutique in Belgium for £450. Bidding started at £350 and the week-long online auction went up to £980, with Zena Bailey of Hastings, Sussex eventually outbidding Traci Lacey – her US rival for the collectable bag – by £20.

Giving evidence, Mrs Bailey, 31, told the court she had been a member of eBay for two months prior to the auction on March 18 last year. “I would have been very suspicious if she had purchased it from a friend or second-hand sale, but she said she personally bought it from Belgium.”

The buyer, initially delighted with her purchase, had become suspicious after telltale differences in the leather, printing and metal accoutrements suggested the handbag was a fake.

She first contacted Makki to try to get her to take the handbag back, then attempted to use eBay’s mediation service. But, with the seller unwilling to cooperate, she contacted her local police. Their willingness to listen to her complaint and interview Makki, who denied being dishonest, saw the case come to trial on May 21-23.

The issue for the court was not the integrity or otherwise of the object, that was accepted as counterfeit. “The question,” prosecutor Guy Russell told the court, “is whether Makki was dishonest or not”. The jury decided she was.

Sentencing her to a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years on the charge of obtaining property by deception, Judge Anthony Niblett told her she had been convicted on “clear” evidence.

He said: “In my judgment this is a sufficiently serious case to merit a custodial sentence, albeit in your case not an immediate one. This offence undermines the confidence of the public and in particular those who deal on eBay which is a very popular means of modern trading in which the honesty and integrity of the users is absolutely vital.”

Judge Niblett also ordered Makki to pay £1000 in compensation to Mrs Bailey and warned her that if it had not been for her previous good character she would have been jailed.