Hundreds of dangerous goods taken off shelves as Manchester City Council slaps company with a hefty fine

Children's dolls which were seized by the Council.

A company which sold a range of dangerous and unsafe products has been handed a financial penalty of close to £15,000. 

In February 2020 officers from Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team carried out a routine annual inspection of Amil International Limited, of Broughton Street, Manchester. 

Officers took samples from a range of products which were on sale suspecting they could be unsafe. 218 electrical incense burners were seized, as well as samples taken from four toys that were also on sale.

From the incense burner samples, each one failed to meet requirements set out by the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016. Failures included improper labelling, incorrect plug dimensions, and access to live electrical parts. 

Toys seized also failed to meet safety specifications, with plastic packaging posing an asphyxiation risk and the plastic components used containing a level of phthalates higher than the accepted amount. 

Phthalates can be ingested by a child from being sucked or chewed from a toy which is then entered into their digestive system, potentially causing disruption to the balance of hormones in the body. 

On June 23, 2020 officers returned to Amil International Limited to seize all remaining stock. In total, 411 items were taken. 

On several occasions the Council invited the company and its director Akmal Habibi, 28, of Amberton Approach, Leeds, to an interview with Trading Standards officers, but they never attended.

This incident was not the first time the defendants had appeared before a court, with both being prosecuted in October 2020 for similar offences. 

At a hearing held on Friday, December 16, 2022, at Manchester Crown Court, Habibi pleaded guilty to three offences under the Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2016, one offence under the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 and one offence under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 in his individual capacity. 

The company also pleaded guilty to the same charges. 

As a result Habibi was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months. He will also have to complete 80 hours unpaid work and take part in 10 days of rehabilitation activities. 

The court also ordered costs of £12,286.59 to be paid, as well as a £2,500 fine. 

Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods said: “As we approach Christmas, cases like these truly highlight the important work of our Trading Standards Team. Safety regulations are in place for a very good reason. It does not bear thinking about what damage could be caused by faulty wiring, or unsafe packaging in the hands of a child. 

“As a Council we want to keep our neighbourhoods safe and ensure our businesses adhere to the highest standards.  

“I’d like to thank our investigating officers as well as our legal team for securing this successful outcome.” 

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