News item

Dangerous toy train

An importer of toys who supplied a Dorchester retailer with an unsafe wooden toy train has been prosecuted by Dorset County Council’s Trading Standards service.

These toys are a safety hazard and anyone who has bought one should not use it.

train and small magnetic parts

On 17 June 2010 at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court, Orange Tree Toys Ltd of Cheltenham, Gloucester, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 of supplying toy wooden animal trains to a retailer in Dorchester.  The toy trains did not meet the requirements of the Toy (Safety Regulations) 1995. Orange Tree Toys Ltd were fined £1,500 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £600.

The court heard that in December 2009, an officer from Trading Standards purchased a toy wooden train with three trailers each containing a painted wooden animal, from a retailer in Dorchester. The train and trailer were held together by small magnets. When tested by Trading Standards the item was found to be unsafe as it came apart quite easily, revealing small magnetic parts and pins with sharp points that could easily be swallowed.
A further toy train was purchased and sent for formal testing. The result of the formal test confirmed Trading Standards' initial findings.

The Trading Standards investigation revealed that the company had supplied more than 30,000 toy trains since 2003.  In November 2009 they changed manufacturer and had sold 1,350 of the newer item. They had not tested the product and had relied upon a test certificate that they had from their previous manufacturer.

In mitigation Orange Tree Toys Ltd stated they had issued a withdrawal notice, for the toys to all retailers, once they had heard from Trading
Standards and followed this up with a formal recall.   They had previously sold this item without complaint and they believed that the problem occurred when they changed manufacturer.

Paul Carter, Divisional Trading Standards Manager for Dorset County Council,said: ‘We are pleased with the outcome of this case. This matter was of concern due to the potential danger posed by these items. Consumers may be unaware that a product recall was issued and we would urge anyone who has purchased a toy wooden animal train and trailer made by Orange Tree Toys Ltd not to use it.

‘This case also highlights the importance of suppliers of goods ensuring that items comply with current safety legislation before they put them on the market. If a supplier is unsure of the rules they should contact the Trading Standards Service for advice and guidance.’