Company director fined over dangerous toys
A toy importer who supplied retailers in Brent and Enfield with dangerous toys has been fined after a case at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday 8 April 2013.
The director of Star One International Limited, Mr Guldip Singh Dang, pleaded guilty to six offences relating to the supply of toys that failed to meet the essential requirements of The Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995 and one offence of supplying a toy that contained a banned substance, contrary to The REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008. Mr Dang, of Grange Farm Close, Harrow, was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs.
The court heard how a joint investigation between Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service and Enfield Trading Standards Service arose from a project that targeted toy importers that supplied independent retailers in both boroughs.
Test purchases of various types of toys were made by trading standards officers from retailers in Wembley and Edmonton and following testing by independent toy safety experts, a number were found to be unsafe. Further seizures of toys, and statements from retailers indicated that the toys were imported into the UK and supplied to them by Star One International Limited.
The safety failures of the toys included:
• scooters with sharp edges, points, and entrapment/crushing hazards
• toy buggies that collapsed and whose packaging presented a hazard
• toy planes with no importer details applied for traceability
• dolls with sharp points and small parts that were a choking hazard
• rattles that were poorly constructed and could pose a choking hazard
• dolls with ten times the permitted level of a harmful chemical.
The court heard that the company director was interviewed and explained that the goods were imported from China, however it was clear that the company had not carried out any independent testing of the products that they had imported. Further, when questioned, the defendant showed very little understanding of the toy safety requirements and labelling provisions of the relevant regulations despite the fact that he had been trading since 2009. As a result, legal proceedings were instituted by Enfield Trading Standards for offences committed in both boroughs.
Brent's Lead Member for Crime and Public Safety, Councillor Lincoln Beswick; said: "I am delighted that the courts have sent a strong message and have recognised the importance of protecting vulnerable consumers from harm.
"The protection of children from unsafe goods is a high priority for Brent and we will continue to monitor local traders on a regular basis to ensure that they, and the importers who supply them, are complying with the law.
"Importers have a duty to ensure that all products that they import are safe to place onto the market."
Cllr Chris Bond, Enfield's Cabinet Member for Environment said: "I am delighted to learn that Enfield Council's Trading Standards Team have been responsible in helping bring to justice an individual who was responsible for bringing dangerous toys to the country.
"Parents who buy toys must be confident that they are safe and manufactured to the highest standards. Dangerous substandard toys like this must be stopped and those who make them prosecuted."
Notes for Editors:
1. The maximum penalty under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 is £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment per offence.
2. The maximum penalty at Crown Court under Regulation 11 of The REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 is an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment.
3. Pictures of some of the offending items are available.
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DATE: 10 April 2013