Importer Prosecuted Over Unsafe Toy

An importer that supplied an unsafe ‘solar monkey’ toy has been prosecuted by Dorset County Council’s trading standards service.

Lesser and Pavey Ltd of Dartford, Kent admitted three offences under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 of supplying the unsafe ‘solar monkey’ toy which moved when placed in sunlight.

The toy did not meet the requirements of the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 because it contained small parts which presented a choking hazard, and there was no warning about this on the packaging.

Lesser and Pavey Ltd were fined £2000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £613..

The court heard that in December 2011, an officer from Dorset County Council’s trading standards service bought one of the toys on the internet as part of a project checking the safety of toys available in the lead up to Christmas.

The toy did not carry a CE mark claiming it complied with toys safety regulations. Similar items found in Wimborne, East Dorset, had been found to fail screen tests.

The subsequent investigation revealed that the company had imported 7200 of these items and sold 3072 of them.

In mitigation, a director of Lesser and Pavey Ltd stated that they issued a recall notice for the toys to all retailers once they had heard from trading standards.

He confirmed that the company was a large giftware importer, but did not usually sell toys and their checks had not taken account of the toy safety regulations. Systems were put in place to prevent a recurrence of this situation.

Ivan Hancock, trading standards service manager for Dorset County Council, said:

“Businesses importing toys play a critical role in ensuring unsafe goods are not sold to UK consumers. They are legally responsible for checking that all toys are safe before distributing them.

"Once sub-standard goods have been sent out, it really is a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Where consumers’ safety is put at risk by breaches formal action is always a consideration for us.

“Officers are in regular contact with Dorset based importers but if any toy supplier is unsure of the legal requirements they should contact trading standards for advice and guidance on 01305 224702.”