September 17 2014 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Thursday, June 26, 2014
A businessman who sold hazardous Halloween vampire fangs to youngsters has narrowly escaped jail.
Jonathan Laidlaw, 56, imported dozens of packets of Fright Fangs that sliced open youngsters’ mouths and gums and posed a serious choking risk.
The treacherous teeth came to light after a 12-year-old girl lacerated herself on one of the Chinese-made toys she had bought at Zebedee, in Liverpool Road, Islington.
Laidlaw, boss of J L Supplies Limited, which supplied the fangs, was ordered to pay out £5,200 after he admitted not checking they met UK health and safety regulations.
Passing sentence on Friday, District Judge Janet Cooper said: “There are a number of matters that relate to these fangs sold at Halloween, clearly for use by children, which cause injury and potential for causing them to choke.”
She added: “These are quite serious matters.
“You need to be aware that if you come back before the court for any matter similar to this you will be facing a custodial sentence.
“You have come very close today to receiving a sentence of imprisonment.”
Trading Standards were called in after the girl bought the fangs for £1.20, tried to put them in and cut her gums.
Sets of the false teeth were sent away for testing and failed the safety checks. 87 sets have since been seized and an unknown number recalled by Laidlaw to be destroyed.
Prosecutor Mumtaz Keshani, of Islington Council, said: “The material which should have been free from roughness was a problem and causing wounds and abrasions.
“The product was intended to be placed in the mouth in close contact with sensitive areas – it was not up to standard. The components posed a choking hazard for any child.”
Laidlaw, of Chalcot Road, Camden, was ordered to pay £2,000 in fines, £2,000 costs and a £200 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to four charges. His company was fined £1,000.
He said: “I would like to thank Trading Standards. They have guided me well and I’m a lot more careful now.”