Highs legal for not much longer…


Solihull Trading Standards joined forces with West Midlands Police yesterday (Thursday 21st January) to visit and give advice to premises in the area that sell seemingly innocuous ‘legal highs.’

New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs) have hit the headlines in recent months after a catalogue of tragic deaths resulted from people using them.

The ‘legal’ part will soon be a misnomer, however. Legislation comes into force in April that will make it a criminal offence to sell these substances. As you can see from the pictured packets above, found openly on sale in a Solihull shop, there is NO indication whatsoever as to what you are actually buying. For all you know you could be eating or smoking anything. Would you trust the ‘manufacturer’ of this type of product to sincerely have your health and wellbeing as their primary concern?

The exercise was designed to give advice to retailers about the risks of these products and to provide prior warning about the changes to the law that will follow. It is also hoped that the considerable dangers inherent in using these type of products will be widely publicised.


20,000 potentially ‘lethal’ electrical goods seized in London


Over 20,000 electrical goods have been seized during a massive, London-wide raid.

22 Trading Standards Officers, together with police, customs and immigration teams, descended on a warehouse in Enfield on 15th December 2015. The co-ordinated action was part of a project funded by National Trading Standards to combat sales of dangerous imports.

Goods inluding laptop chargers, adapters, Christmas lights, PC tablets and sat navs were seized during the raid.

See the article below for more information:


Solihull Trading Standards have been extensively involved in combatting the rising tide of cheap, unsafe electrical goods coming into the country through Birmingham Airport. We will continue to work closely with Border Force to stop illegal goods getting through.

Be very careful who you book your winter holiday with


Action Fraud has received multiple reports from people who have lost their money after paying for holiday accomodation on RightSki.com and ChaletHunter.com. Have a look at the below article from http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ :

‘According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) RightSki.com and ChaletHunter.com were set up by fraudsters using fake details and false information. 

The NFIB are proactively taking steps to suspend the websites and virtual phone numbers used by these fraudsters and are warning consumers that they may continue this activity and use alternative websites. Fraudsters can easily set up new pages with different names very quickly. 

Victims lost over £60k in total so far

Over a dozen victims who made reports so far state to have lost approximately £60,000 in total with the majority paying by bank transfer, where unfortunately, once money has left an account – little can be done to retrieve this. 

The NFIB is also urging any victims who have not yet reported to come forward and report to Action Fraud to assist the police.

How to protect yourself from booking a holiday that doesn’t exist:

  • Stay safe online:  Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org 
  • Do your research: Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials. If a company is defrauding people there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company. 
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at http://www.abta.com
  • Pay safe: Never pay directly into an owner’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money cannot be traced and is not refundable. Where possible, pay by credit card, (or a debit card that offers protection). 
  • Check paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. 
  • Use your instincts: Be wary of advertisements showing accommodation at substantially lower prices than the competition.
  • Report it – victims should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040)

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)

Beware of fake chainsaws!


Of all the things you REALLY do not want to have safety problems with chainsaws must come pretty high up on the list!

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards have reported cheap, fake chainsaws are being sold in their area following a vehicle being stopped in south Cambridgeshire by the police. 26 unsafe petrol powered tools, including chainsaws, were discovered for sale and have now been destroyed.

All power machinery should have have the proper safety certificates.

Any deal that sounds too good to be true more than likely is. It is a very frightening thought what the consequences could be if one of these tools malfunctions in your hands.

Stay safe and stay clear of dangerous dodgy goods!

On patrol with West Midlands Police

trading standards

Solihull Trading Standards were out on patrol with West Midlands Police yesterday. Our working relationship with the police force is becoming closer and closer and our joint patrols around the borough will be a regular sight in the months to come.

A van was seized for having no insurance and valuable intelligence gathered during the patrol.

Enfocement bodies are pooling their resources in this climate of austerity and combining their skills to target criminals operating in Solihull. If you have any information for us that could lead to illegal trading activity being stopped please call us on 03454 04 05 06.


Gang who scammed man, 94, out of £130k are found guilty


A London gang have been convicted of their role in the country’s biggest courier fraud scam after duping seven elderly people into handing over a total of £273,000. One of their victims was a 94 year old man who lost his life savings of £130,000. Detectives believe the group were involved in a larger industrial-scale fraud plot with around 140 victims being tricked into handing over £1million.

The scam worked by elderly victims being conned into withdrawing money and handing it over to the criminals as part of a fake police investigation into fraudulent activities involving their bank accounts. The investigation found that a total of 5,695 calls had been made to 3,774 different numbers across the UK using 16 telephone lines.

See an article about the deception here:


Legitimate agencies such as the police or trading standards will NEVER ask for money or your personal banking details.

Let us all join together to stop these people.



Legal highs worth £34,000 to be destroyed in Leeds


In what has been described as a ‘landmark’ court ruling, £34,000 worth of legal highs have been destroyed after two shops were warned NOT to sell them.

In a statement, West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: “Results showed many had anaesthetic effects, some contained serious toxicity levels and would have hallucinogenic effects on users and others consisted of synthetic cannabinoids which act like and have a similar effect as cannabis.”

“New psychoactive substances are labelled as ‘not for human consumption’ but they are designed to mimic the effects of controlled drugs, ” he said.

“We have evidence people are buying these products to get high, and the effects on users can be unpredictable and dangerous.”

The law on legal highs is set to change dramatically next year. We will all be watching this space…..

Be aware of distraction burglary


(Article taken from //www.facebook.com/solihullpolice)

Elderly residents in the West Midlands are collectively being conned out of a fortune by cruel conmen who trick their way inside homes – we are urging everyone to play their part in protecting the region’s pensioners.

Latest crime figures recorded by us show that 324 residents – mainly older, vulnerable people – have been duped in the last 12 months by distraction burglars posing as officials, workmen and even police officers.

We are urging everyone to be alert to the threat and help spread the word to be wary of dodgy doorstep callers.

If in doubt keep them out and call the police on 999. 101 is to be called in non-emergencies.

Bogus repairmen steal £9,000 from elderly man


Thieves posing as repairmen are thought to have stolen around £9,000 from an 85 year old man.

One of the men took the man to the rear of his property after saying he was inspecting faulty guttering while the other man rooted through the house and stole a large quantity of cash.

See the full article here:


Distraction burglary is a common crime. Please beware of leaving your property unattended at ANY time.