A man in his 60s who became obsessed with Ebay trading has been jailed for three years after making £500,000 selling pirate DVDs from China.

Trevor Pegg, 61, from Epsom, was found guilty of 13 different counts - including participating in fraudulent business, possessing criminal property and unauthorised use of a trademark - at Guildford Crown Court last month.

Pegg spent more than three years, between 2010 and 2013, selling knocked-off versions of popular DVDs including 249 pirated copies of Disney’s Little Mermaid and Mrs Brown’s Boys on websites such as eBay and Play.

This morning, he was sentenced at the crown court to three years in prison, half of which he will serve before being released on licence.

Pegg's barrister Rupert Hallowes told the court how he had imported the DVDs from China, from a company named DH Gate, in transactions which he believed to be "perfectly legitimate" when he started trading online.

Mr Hallowes said Pegg continued to sell the DVDs after receiving complaints about them and was then "reckless" to continue with the operation.

Addressing Judge Robert Fraser, Mr Hallowes said: "Take the view that when this defendant started trading with DH Gate he went into that business relationship on the basis that DH Gate were a perfectly legitimate company selling licensed DVDs.

"At a certain stage, by the end of 2010, early 2011, it must have come to his attention that there was something wrong with the DVDs.

"Take the view that this wasn’t fraud from the outset. It was something he should have kept a much closer eye on.

"This is more of a case of recklessness.

"This defendant had developed a complete obsession with his Ebay trading, which was consuming every minute of every working hour while he was engaged in it and he seems to have lost all sense of proportion.

"He was completely obsessed with his status as a power seller.

"When complaints about the items were made he paid the refunds and continued trading.

"By the end the defendant’s thinking processes were completely distorted.

"He didn’t feel he could stop."

The court heard how Pegg worked as a stock-taker for Safeways for 30 years, before becoming self-employed and then pursuing his online DVDs business.

This is his first criminal conviction.

A father of two children aged 30 and 27 and married to his wife for 36 years, Mr Hallowes said Pegg suffered from hypertension, kidney disease and an enlarged prostate and that "a dramatic upsurge in his medical problems" combined with the death of his mother in 2012 coincided with him committing the crimes.

"[Mrs Pegg] said he became very withdrawn and depressed all of which may have contributed to some degree to the grossly impaired decision-making of this man of otherwise unblemished character," Mr Hallowes said.

The court heard how Pegg did not use the money he was making to live an extravagant lifestyle and "this is not a case involving high culpability on the part of the defendant".

He said the only thing he did buy was an early model, second-hand Porsche which cost less than £10,000, and that he kept the rest of the money in his safe.

Mr Hallowes continued: "His wife didn’t notice any difference in the standard of their living which speaks volumes for what happened in that period.

"This is a defendant simply obsessed with his hobby."

The barrister said it was likely Pegg will lose his house, the cottage he inherited from his mother and other assets as a financial penalty for his crimes and this would prove "an extremely expensive conviction for him".

He said: "He is genuinely sorry of the impact his offending has had on his family.

"He is utterly ashamed. His two children are ashamed of him, as is his wife.

"He sits before your honour as a broken man.

"For Trevor Pegg it is a heavy price to pay for an obsession."

Handing down his sentence, Judge Fraser said: "The number of DVDs and sales involved were significant.

"I do detect almost an obsessive interest in your business.

"What is important in this case is to consider carefully your level of culpability.

"Overall, it was just over £500,000 which was laundered.

"You were obsessed with the business for its own sake.

"If you had paused you may have come to your senses sooner."

He added: "This was an operation which became criminal rather than starting as criminal."

Pegg walked into the dock before today’s sentencing holding a bag. He was clean-shaven, wearing a dark blue jacket and black trousers and shirt.

After the sentencing, Steve Playle, Surrey County Council's Trading Standards investigations and enforcement manager, said: "This is a very satisfying result for the council.

"Mr Pegg had ignored previous warnings that he was going to come under the scope of the authorities.  

"Unfortunately, there are lots of goods being sold on the internet which are counterfeit and consumers need to be careful who they are buying from.

"If anyone has bought something and they are not sure if it's genuine or counterfeit they should always try to call it into Trading Standards on the national helpline 0345 4040 506."