Hitchin business hit with £13,000 fine after selling ‘dangerous’ goods

A Hitchin business has been fined £13,000 for selling dangerous candyfloss machines. Picture: Archant

A Hitchin business has been fined £13,000 for selling dangerous candyfloss machines. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A business in Hitchin has been forced to pay out more than £15,000 after a Trading Standards sting discovered they were selling “unsafe” machines that failed safety requirements.

Gifts 4 All Occasions Ltd, of Wallace Way in the town, was ordered to pay £13,000 in fines, £1,856 in costs and a £181 victim surcharge at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Monday, October 12.

The sentencing follows a hearing on July 3 at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court, where Gifts 4 All Occasions pleaded guilty to 10 counts under the Electrical Equipment (safety) regulations 2016 for importing unsafe electrical candyfloss machines.

Officers from Hertfordshire Trading Standards purchased two of the machines and had them tested by an independent expert. Both failed electrical safety requirements as they were inadequately earthed, with one of them at risk of catching fire.

During the sentencing District Judge Dodd said she took account of the company’s previous good character, its cooperation throughout the investigation with Trading Standards and its inexperience with importing electrical goods.

She also accepted that the COVID-19 situation was having a significant effect on the business at the moment.

However, in imposing the penalties she said she had to take into account the serious safety implications of the offending.

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Terry Hone, Herts County Council’s cabinet member for community safety and waste management, said: “The public put their trust in businesses, assuming that the items they buy are safe. Trading Standards offer business advice to support those who may need help and that was given in this case. Despite this, items were sold that were unsafe.

“Those that avoid their responsibilities and fail to carry out sufficient safety checks, thereby putting customers at risk of serious injury or death, could find themselves explaining their lack of action to a court.”