The bizarre production line was discovered at father-of-two Adrian Gerard Grant’s Tullymacreeve Road house during a police search in January 2012.
They first uncovered a copied passport in the office of his plush Mullaghbawn family home before a search of an outbuilding uncovered 130 empty plastic containers, fake Persil labels and palettes containing hundreds of bottles of Tesco baby lotion and “hair cream”.
At Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Thursday it was heard that 43-year-old Grant had been using two 500 litres cubes to mix the goods he had bulk bought to make pirate Persil which was being poured into the fake containers using a bucket.
It was not revealed what Grant intended to do with his dodgy detergent — but his strange get-rich-quick scheme quickly became a total wash-out.
After being arrested, Grant had denied the charges against him and then refused to make further comment during interview.
He had been planning to contest the charges against him, but on Thursday the truth came out in the wash and he pleaded guilty to one count of trading in counterfeit goods and two of possessing articles for use in frauds.
Two other charges against him were withdrawn.
His wife Collette Grant had been facing five similar charges but they were all withdrawn.
Grant’s defence lawyer said he began manufacturing the pretend Persil out of “financial desperation”.
“He was a successful builder during the good times but now finds himself out of work.
“Times are tough for his family,” he said.
The barrister admitted that the production line was “an amateurish operation” and said his client was aware his once clean reputation was now stained.
District Judge King said Grant had copied his own passport and doctored it, changing the date of birth and other details.
“The court has not been told what his intentions were, but the papers show it was an amateurish attempt,” he said.
On Grant’s money woes and large home, Judge King said: “Properties such as this are great in the good times, but very hard to maintain when times are bad.
“There is a saying, ‘A small fire will warm you, but a big one will burn you’.
“The victim in this case would have been anyone who bought this product believing it to be Persil, and this wouldn’t have undergone tests like real Persil would.”
The judge handed Grant three months in jail for having the copied passport and another consecutive three months for the two counterfeit Persil charges. He suspended the six-month jail term for 18 months and ordered him to pay £102.50 in witness costs and £275 to cover the destruction costs for his fake Persil.
Outside court, Grant tried to show a clean pair of heels to our snapper as he ran through Armagh in an attempt to avoid getting his picture taken.
But his dirty laundry caught up with him, as did our photographer.