Danger chair suppliers are handed fines

Residents are being urged to be on their guard when buying cut price furniture and other goods.

The warning comes after two businesses were fined nearly £10,000 by South East Northumberland magistrates for selling chairs which did not meet safety standards and went up in flames during tests.

Smartway Imports Ltd, whose registered office is in Dewsbury, were convicted of supplying furniture which did not comply with the relevant safety legislation; supplying furniture which was not appropriately labelled; and supplying furniture with a misleading label.

Tub chairs covered in a range of children’s character patterns were seized, and flammability testing on them found flames spread quickly and in less than two minutes the entire sample had completely burned away.

Smartway was fined £8,788, ordered to pay £1,365 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

James Steven Jewitt, of Bargain Buys, based in Ashington and Newbiggin, was also charged with offering the items for supply and selling an item which infringed a registered trademark. He was fined £820, ordered to pay costs of £1,262 and pay a victim surcharge of £82.

Philip Soderquest, head of public protection for Northumberland County Council, said: “Trading Standards continue to work towards ensuring that items purchased from retailers in the county are safe.

“This work has ensured that a number of unsafe chairs have been removed from the market. If a chair like this were to catch fire in a home the flames would quickly spread to other items and throughout the house, with potentially fatal consequences”

To see footage of one of the chairs being tested go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=boInsbSZcnM