MIL-OSI United Kingdom: ‘Fake’ poppy seller hauled into court after Council swoop

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Source: City of Manchester

Dangerous toys, potentially harmful jewellery and fake Royal British Legion poppies have been seized before they got to market in Manchester thanks to an early warning tip off. 

In April 2022, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team were alerted that a consignment of toys, imported by Miku Accessories and Gifts Limited, had arrived in the country. 

Acting on the intelligence supplied by Leicestershire Safety at Ports Team, MCC carried out an inspection of Miku, located in Derby Street. During this inspection samples were taken from a range of items on sale.  

Seized items included 422 ‘poppy’ pins, 110 items of jewellery, 200 light up toys, 136 ‘Marvel’ toys suspected of being counterfeit, and a further 73 toys which lacked the correct labelling.  

Information received from the brand representative present on the inspection confirmed that the poppy pins on sale were fake and were not authorised by the Royal British Legion.  

Jewellery analysed were found to contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, for example a ring seized contained 1,300 times the safe amount of lead allowed; lead in high quantities is toxic and can cause health problems if a person is exposed to it for a prolonged time. A ring taken also was found to contain higher than permitted levels of nickel, and was retained for further testing. 

Issues with the light up toys were also detected, as the plastic cap and battery box were found to fit inconsistently and fixed with a varying quality of adhesive. This could have resulted in a child gaining access to the internal wiring. Other elements were found to be too small, posing a potential choking hazard. 

When interviewed by Trading Standards, the company’s director Ling Bin Li, 49, of Broad Road, Sale, stated that items were imported from China and that he relies on verbal confirmation that goods are compliant with laws in the country they are shipped to. He also stated that items are tested on his family members to ensure their safety before being sold to the public. 

He also claimed not to be aware of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulations as well as the Toy Safety Regulations and the Trade Marks Act. 

At a hearing at Tameside Magistrates Court, held on Monday June 3, 2024, Li pleaded guilty to offences under the REACH Act, Toy Safety Regulations and the Trade Marks Act. 

Li accepted that he did not conduct due diligence over the products which were being sold, and that he did not check the relevant regulations.  

Li was sentenced to pay a fine of £2,000, a victim surcharge of £190 and costs of £2,000. The business was ordered to pay a £6,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £190 and costs of £2,340. 

A forfeiture order was granted for the items seized by Trading Standards. 

Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods said: “We are entirely committed to ensuring that people in Manchester are able to shop safely. The work of our Trading Standards team is invaluable in making sure that dangerous products do not make their way into the homes of ordinary people. 

“This sentence should send a firm message to traders who think they can skirt the law and disregard safety regulations which are in place for a very good reason.” 

MIL OSI United Kingdom