Woman who made £250,000 selling bootleg Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters T-shirts ordered to pay back £140,000 or face jail

Genuine Rolling Stones T-shirts on sale in Madrid (Image credit: Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)

A Norwich woman who pleaded guilty to selling bootleg band T-shirts has been ordered to pay back £140,000 or face five months in jail. 

Johanna Donnelly, 48, admitted 20 offences of selling and infringing trademark articles and another count of fraudulent trading after an investigation by Newport council.

According to WalesOnline, between June 19, 2017, and July 2, 2018, the council carried out test purchases across various sales platforms, and after the T-shirts were received the council sent them off to a brand consultant to the relevant bands. It was concluded that the shirts - which were labelled as official merch for Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, The Stone Roses, The Stranglers and more - were not genuine and there was no consent from the trademark owners to sell the items, which were deemed to be of poor quality.

Donnelly, of Parr Road, Norwich, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court to a six month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, with 150 hours unpaid work and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, Donnelly was found to have made £250,000 from her illegal sales: the available assets which were recoverable amounted to £141,655. Judge David Wynn Morgan ordered Donnelly to pay the sum within three months, or face five months in prison.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.