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Dodgy paint job – toy cars contained too much lead
Friday 21st December, 2007

Dodgy paint job – toy cars contained too much lead
Danger Toys: The toy car set that was found to contain large amounts of lead and chromium.

A store chain has been fined £4,000 after unsafe toys were found on sale at its Wigan shop.

A seemingly harmless set of toy racing cars found on sale at the Instore shop at Robin Park, Wigan, were found to contain ‘hugely excessive levels of lead and chromium’ when tested by the council’s Trading Standards team.

Parent company Poundstretcher faced prosecution under the Consumer Protection Act before the town’s magistrates last week.

The court heard that Trading Standards officers bought the ‘Thunder Vehicles’ set of cars as part of its annual Christmas toy safety exercise. Subsequent tests revealed the cars contained 27 times the limit of lead and six times the limit of chromium allowed under Toy Safety Standards.

The bench was told that the car sets were among a batch of 10,000 imported by Poundstretcher from China. The company had relied on a test certificate produced in China before the toys were imported. However, the toys that were actually imported had been made to a different specification.

Poundstretcher failed to conduct any checks when the toys were imported and as a result the error was never discovered.

Upon being made aware of the problem the company issued an immediate recall notice and unsold car sets were withdrawn from sale.

The company admitted the offence and were fined £4000 with £695 costs.

Wigan Council's Chief Trading Standards Officer Julie Middlehurst says:

“This case comes after a number of recent high profile product recalls by international toy manufacturers regarding unsafe imported toys from China.

“It highlights the need for companies to be vigilant when importing toys and to conduct their own independent testing when goods arrive in this country. This helps importers have confidence that they have received exactly what they ordered.”

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