Hoverboard fires continue…

stream_img (1)

We have reported all too often on the risks associated with unsafe hoverboards. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service have now released these photos of counterfeit hoverboards – which have caused fires in homes over Christmas.

Unsafe imports, notably from China, continue to flood the market and threaten damage to life and home. Over the last few months we have seized numerous consignments coming through Birmingham Airport which are just not safe for everyday use.

See this video for what to look out for when buying a hoverboard:




Birmingham couple’s £14,824 Instagram iPhone con


A Birmingham husband and wife conned more than 50 victims into buying non-existent iPhones and watches on Instagram.

Saqib Bashir and his wife Rimla Chaudurey made almost £14,824 by setting up a string of bogus web companies between September 2013 and April 2014.

They advertised the valuables online and simply pocketed the cash from the orders they received.

But they were arrested in January last year and later charged with fraud when angry customers called in the police.

Bashir, 27, and his 24-year-old wife, from Washwood Heath, were each handed eight-month suspended jail sentences at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court was told the pair used bogus online firms called Cosmetic Bargains, Alinas Accessories, Designer Discounts, Crystal Discounts, Designer Boutique, Designer Couture, and Beauty Boutiqu3 to dupe customers.

Bashir initially denied the offence, claiming he had never heard of Cosmetic Bargains and did not use Instagram.

He also denied being linked to bank accounts or mobile phone numbers used in the con and maintained the pair were victims of identity theft.

But when detectives provided more evidence – including proof that a web page for Cosmetic Bargains was created on their home computer – they eventually admitted fraud by false representation.

Investigating officer Matt Leach, from West Midlands Economic Crime Unit, said: “They used ten different bank accounts – one of which was linked to 23 frauds – and six Instagram accounts offering items for sale.

“Customers parted with sums ranging from £52 to £1,000.

“Many of these were birthday and Christmas presents so they are responsible for creating a lot of upset and worry among the people they deceived.”

(Source – Birmingham Mail)

Hoverboards aplenty! Not so good though…


Solihulll Trading Standards have had a LOT of experience with ‘hoverboards’ recently. Our close working relationship with Border Force at Birmingham Airport has meant that we have uncovered a number of dodgy imports over the last few weeks.

We have dealt with items that have absolutely NO safety instructions or markings. There is no way to verify whether the goods are safe or not and they have not been allowed into the country.

If you have information about unsafe goods being sold in Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06.


Be careful when buying a Hoverboard for Christmas


(picture credit – Getty Images)

Hoverboards seem to be all the rage these days. If you are thinking of buying one for someone this Christmas be aware that there are an increasing amount of unsafe models out there flooding the market. While it may be tempting to save a few quid you may ultimately pay a dearer price.

Solihull Trading Standards have recently intercepted a consignment of 50 hoverboards from China at Birmingham Aiport. As part of our close working relationship with Border Force we were notified of the attempted importation. The hoverboards contained absolutely no electrical safety information and it could not be verified if any testing had taken place to ensure that the products were safe for use. They were also labelled as toys but did not conform to the Toy Safety Regulations.

This find follows a recent seizure made at East Midlands Airport of hundreds of unsafe hoverboards with dodgy charging adaptors and unsafe batteries. The hoverboards were part of a £300,000 haul of unsafe goods. An article with more about this seizure can be seen below:


Stay safe and remember – If it sounds good to be true then it probaby is!

Skin whitening cream containing banned substance seized at Birmingham Airport


Solihull Trading Standards often work in partnership with other agencies to protect the health and well-being of our community.

An example of this happened recently when we were contacted by Border Force at Birmingham Airport.  They had intercepted an importation of cosmetics and were concerned about the safety of the products.

The cosmetics in question were skin lightening products, used by people with dark skin in the belief that they will make their skin lighter.  The creams and oils being imported contained hydroquinone. This is a banned ingredient as it can be harmful, with the potential to cause burns and to leave skin scarred.  Trading Standards enforce this ban.  We contacted the importer who was informed that the consignment would not be allowed into the country and would be destroyed.

If you are aware that skin lightening products containing hydroquinone are being sold anywhere, please let us know on 03454 04 05 06.  You may just be saving someone from skin damage.

Birmingham crack down on bogus ‘Halal’ meat


Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards service joined West Midlands police officers to visit six premises, including butchers and meat wholesalers, across the city in a series of raids. They seized hundreds of chickens during an investigation into firms selling meat wrongly-labelled as halal to Muslims.

It is a criminal offence to mis-describe items. If you feel that any business in Solihull is misleading its customers please contact us on 03454 04 05 06

Sniffer dogs uncover more than £10,000 worth of illegal tobacco in Birmingham


Birmingham Trading Standards and their little helpers (provided by BWY Tobacco Detection Dog Services) have sniffed out over 27,000 illegal cigarettes and 120 packets of hand rolling tobacco during raids on Birmingham shops and off licenses. The goods (valued at £11,800) were hidden under fridges, in roof spaces and in a cellar.

See the article here:


Watch out – it may not be too long until we are out and about in Solihull again on the look out for illicit tobacco…….

Dating conman jailed for 5 years

Haider with IP on holiday

Callous conman Ammar Haider (pictured) has been jailed for 5 years after cheating 3 women out of £120,000 and leaving them facing financial ruin.

Married father of two Haider from Acocks Green near Solihull invented a series of completely fictitious sob stories to persuade the women, all in their 20s, to hand over their savings, take out loans and even pawn their possessions.

His pack of lies included:

  • He needed thousands of pounds to pay for emergency treatment for his ill father
  • His sister needed pioneering surgery in the US for tuberculosis
  • He claimed that he needed £45,000 in bail money to escape torture in a Dubai prison after being arrested
  • He claimed to be a budding pilot for Emirates Airlines and needed ‘pilot license costs’

As the net closed around him he adopted the persona of a feared gangster to intimidate his victims into keeping quiet. The full article from West Midlands Police can be found here:


Det Con Phillips warned, “When meeting through dating websites people should heed the precautions advised by the site and never hand over large sums of money.”

‘Cairo’ the cat – a story with a happy ending!


A strange telephone call came through to Solihull Trading Standards last Thursday morning. A very young kitten had secretly stowed aboard a flight into Birmingham Airport from Egypt! She was quickly christened ‘Cairo’ by Birmingham Airport Staff.

An experienced animal welfare officer from Solihull MBC Environmental Health team dealt with the issue. Under Rabies legislation the kitten was transferred to a quarantine facility, where she had to stay for at least 14 days. On day 15 we had 3 options:i) a further 3 1/2 months in quarantine ii) re-export the kitten – this was not possible as there was no owner in Egypt (iii) Put the kitten to sleep. Because of the considerable costs involved in maintaining the kitten it looked like option 3 was sadly our only choice. However, after further attempts to prevent this,  the Environmental Health Officer has managed to find a rescue centre called Lina’s Cat Rescue in the East Midlands who will cover the costs for maintaining the kitten and secure a full time home for her!

A happy ending all round. If you wish to make a donation to Lina’s Cat rescue they can be contacted via their website http://linascatrescue.com/

Over 1.5 TONNES of illegal tobacco goes up in smoke!


Over 1.5 tonnes of illegal oral tobacco recently seized by Solihull Trading Standards at Birmingham Airport has been collected and is off to the furnace for secure destruction.

Trading standards were contacted on Friday 15th May by Border Force regarding a consignment of tobacco product called Naswar. They suspected the product was oral tobacco, the supply of which is banned in the UK.

Council officers seized the full 1.64 tonnes of tobacco and sent a sample for analysis, confirming that the product was illegal oral tobacco. Before applying to the court for a forfeiture order, which would have forced the importer to relinquish the product, Trading Standards gave the importer the opportunity to sign the product over to them for destruction and he agreed to do so.

Naswar is very popular in some south Asian communities and comes in a block form. A small amount of the product is broken off the block, rolled into a ball and placed in the mouth between the gum and the cheek where it is held for 15 to 20 minutes.

The supply of oral tobacco is banned under the Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations 1992, made under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

This case shows we will work closely with border agencies to ensure that unsafe products do not enter the country. Illegal importers face losing a lot of money if they fail to heed our warnings.