Killer toys seized in town swoops

Siezed unsafe toys at Blackpool Trading Standards.
Siezed unsafe toys at Blackpool Trading Standards.
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Killer toys have been seized from Blackpool shops as part of a pre-Christmas purge.

Deadly dolls, with buttons hanging off, hair falling out and heads that could have broken off, were removed from the shelves by Trading Standards officers.

Siezed unsafe toys at Blackpool Trading Standards.

Siezed unsafe toys at Blackpool Trading Standards.

They swooped on shops and street traders across the town confiscating fake and untested goods, such as Thomas the Tank Engines and Disney goods, including Mickey Mouse copies.

The haul, which also included racing cars and toy irons, are now being looked at by safety experts for small parts which could choke youngsters, a high toxic paint content and dangerous electrics.

Steven Ash, a Blackpool Council public safety officer, said the goods did not feature the vital CE stamp, which is used to certify toys have been properly safety tested.

He said: “Clearly these toys would be unsafe for children, the depressing thing is these toys could easily kill but some retailers don’t seem to care.

Siezed unsafe toys at Blackpool Trading Standards.

Siezed unsafe toys at Blackpool Trading Standards.

“It can cost up to £1,000 to safety test a toy and unfortunately there are people out there willing to put children’s lives at risk by allowing them to slip through the net.

“In this latest batch there are small parts just waiting to break off, in particular eyes and buttons but we have dolls with hair falling out just waiting to be put in a child’s mouth.”

Mr Ash said Trading Standards look out for dangerous toys all year round but the problem is particularly prevalent in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “The problem doesn’t go away, dodgy toys come through the major ports, such as Felixstowe, all year round and a lot of them end up in Manchester.

“This year we haven’t had a particular brand, a couple of years ago it was all about Buzz Lightyear. This year the toys are fairly cheap and it is the children’s safety we are concerned about.

“We would ask any parents to look for the CE stamp but unfortunately even that can be fake so they must also check for a company address, made in China is not good enough.

“Boxed toys with dodgy translations are also a giveaway.”

But officers say they are also trying to educate retailers who stock the deadly toys.

Mr Ash added: “If a shop owner has been sold a batch of toys with no proper documents and no address on the toys and a child is killed, the responsibility is their own which could cost them millions of pounds.”

Officers who carried out the raid said penalties for such an offence can be very costly.

On conviction at magistrates court, each breach of the Trademark Act carries a maximum penalty of £5,000 and six months’ imprisonment.

More serious offences, which are dealt with at Crown Court, can result in unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to 10 years.

Tim Coglan, head of Blackpool Trading Standards, said: “We are talking about seriously dangerous toys, the more obvious things are live electrical concerns and sharp edges.

“But also hidden dangers such as the toxic heavy metal content in the paint and choking hazards.

“We would advise anyone to err on the side of caution before giving anything to their kids.

“What we would recommend is people only purchase toys from authentic stockists and reputable traders and be wary if approached to buy anything.

“At Blackpool Council the priority is protecting young children who are at risk from these toys. We have pro active inspection campaigns and robust enforcement to ensure these dangerous toys are taken out of circulation.”