A Middlesbrough trader has been fined over the sale of dangerous fake branded cigarette lighters.
Harpreet Singh, trading as John News on Linthorpe Road, was fined £1,650 and ordered to pay £3,626 in costs when he appeared before Teesside Magistrates’ Court after admitting a string of trademark and product safety offences.
The case was brought by Middlesbrough Council Trading Standards after officers visited the store in July last year and seized 667 lighters that were unsafe or fake.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “The lighters seized at this store failed to meet stringent safety standards designed to keep consumers safe.
“A particular concern was that some lighters had excessive and irregular flames that would be likely to cause serious burns.
“Many of the items were marked with well-known brands including BMW, Liverpool Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Zippo and Jack Daniels yet in fact were fake.
“A number of the lighters were in the shape of watches, binoculars, toy guns and swords – all of which are banned due their appeal to children.”
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “Selling fake and unsafe goods cannot be tolerated, especially as the lighters sold by this trader could have caused serious injuries.
“It is essential that traders understand their legal obligations before setting up in business to ensure that the goods they sell are safe and meet all legal requirements.
“Advice and guidance is available to any business and our Trading Standards officers are always happy to help, both to help traders stay within the law and to keep members of the public safe.
“Trading Standards will continue to take action against those that flout the law in order to protect the public and legitimate businesses from unfair and unsafe trading practices.”