You are here:

Christmas crackdown

“Everyone’s looking for a bargain in the build up to Christmas, but don’t be fooled into parting with your cash for something that may be dangerous to you or your children.”

That’s the advice of Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, who is warning shoppers to be on their guard as the Council’s Trading Standards Service cracks down on rogue traders in the build up to Christmas.

Earlier this month Waltham Forest Council’s Trading Standards officers hit the streets of the borough on the lookout for unsafe toys, with this year’s ‘must have’ – hoverboards – being top of their list.

The National Trading Standards Board reported in early December that 17,000 hoverboards had been examined at UK ports since the middle of October and 88 per cent were deemed to be unsafe.

One of the main safety issues is chargers and plugs not being constructed safely so that they recognise when the board has fully charged, leading to overheating and a substantial fire risk.

During a day of action, the Council’s Trading Standards Service visited 13 premises and came across five suspect boards. One retailer voluntarily surrendered the only board he had in stock.

Examination of the four boards in the other store left officers dissatisfied with their safety. A ‘suspension notice’ was served, meaning that the shop cannot sell, supply or move the boards from the premises and the trader will now need to prove that the goods comply with safety standards.

But it’s not just flash electronic equipment that can be harmful, earlier in the month the Council’s Street Trading Inspectors informed their colleagues in Trading Standards of concerns regarding a stall on Walthamstow market.

Trading Standards officers visited the stall and subsequently seized nine teddy bears that were deemed to be unsafe. The stuffing of the bear was easily accessible via a zip at its rear, proving a choking hazard, and the ribbon around its neck had the potential to strangle a young child.  

The soft toys contravened the Toy Safety Regulations and were placed in evidence bags. The stall holder was advised that he would be invited to the council offices for a formal interview under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).

At the time the stall holder said that he had purchased the teddy bears from a seller who had approached his stall. He said that he did not have any contact details for this seller and that he had not sold any of the teddy bears to date before they were seized.

To report a concern you have over unsafe goods please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, who work in partnership with Waltham Forest Council, on 03454 04 05 06.

Photos: One of the teddy bears seized from the stall on Walthamstow Market.



If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at or on 020 8496 4521 / 4802.

For out of hours please email or call 07966 915 157.