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Salford firm fined £18k as 3,700 unsafe counterfeit Disney and Marvel toys seized

A Salford importer has been hit with an £18,000 fine after admitting selling unsafe and counterfeit toys.

Over 3,700 items were seized by Salford City Council’s trading standards officers during a routine visit to Smartway Imports Ltd on Overbridge Road

The toys included Disney and Marvel branded items.

Inspectors found one Spiderman toy had parts which could have easily choked a small child.

The toys had apparently been imported from Chinese firm Jin Fu Plastic Industry Co Ltd.

At Manchester Crown Court on Friday 23 September the firm’s owners were fined £10,500 for consumer protection failings and £7,500 for offences under the Trade Marks Act.

At and earlier hearing bosses had pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to unsafe toys and one offence of possessing more than 3,700 counterfeit goods.

The court heard that officers suspected a large quantity of the toys on sale were counterfeit and seized 3,767 items.

They identified 16 separate brands amongst them, most of which were Disney products.

A Spiderman projectile toy, a Disney Frozen figure set and a Disney Frozen doll were safety tested.

None had the manufacturers and importers name and address and two out of the three lacked a required identifying code.

Trading standards officers invited the company directors Shakil Patel and Aiyub Patel for interview but they authorised the manager Mohammed Yusoof, who was present when the goods were seized, to speak on behalf of the company.

The prepared statement provided by Mr Yusoof states that the company “deny knowingly obtaining, importing, possessing and retailing any counterfeit goods” and that they had “acted in all honesty and due diligence in obtaining and retailing” the items and that they believed the items to be “genuine and in compliance with relevant UK legislation”.

Speaking after the case Councillor David Lancaster, Salford City Council’s lead member for environment and community safety, welcomed the fine and said: “We’ve been saying for some time that fines need to be more realistic and I’m glad to see that in this case this has happened.

“Any business which imports and sells toys must be aware of and comply with the law.

“They cannot put profits before children’s safety by skimping on testing and proper labelling of toys.

“Salford City Council will not hesitate to take action against any company which does not do the right thing to keep our children safe.

“And, with Christmas coming up, I’d urge anyone buying toys for children to be vigilant and buy from shops they trust to comply with the law.”

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.