A TRADER has been forced to pay up more than £5,000 for selling dangerous fake branded cigarette lighters.

Harpreet Singh, who trades as John News on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough, was fined £1,650 and ordered to pay £3,636 in costs after he admitted a strong of trademark and product safety offences.

Many of the fake items were marked with well-known brands including BMW, Liverpool Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Zippo and Jack Daniels.

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A number of the lighters recovered were in the shape of watches, binoculars, toy guns and swords – all of which are banned due their appeal to children.

The case was brought by Middlesbrough Council’s Trading Standards after officers visited the store in July last year and seized 667 lighters that were either unsafe or fake.

Speaking after the case, which was heard at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Judith Hedgley, the council’s head of public protection, said: “The lighters seized at this store failed to meet stringent safety standards designed to keep consumers safe.

“A particular concern was that some lighters had excessive and irregular flames that would be likely to cause serious burns.”

Councillor Julia Rostron, the council’s executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “Selling fake and unsafe goods cannot be tolerated, especially as the lighters sold by this trader could have caused serious injuries.

“It is essential that traders understand their legal obligations before setting up in business to ensure that the goods they sell are safe and meet all legal requirements.

“Advice and guidance is available to any business and our Trading Standards officers are always happy to help, both to help traders stay within the law and to keep members of the public safe.

“Trading Standards will continue to take action against those that flout the law in order to protect the public and legitimate businesses from unfair and unsafe trading practices.”