Owner of Hadleigh firm fined 50,000 for selling unsafe Chinese imports

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A rogue trader has been fined just over £50,000 after being found guilty of four charges under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

Colin Andrew Louch, whose firm Caltrad Ltd was registered in Hadleigh, was found guilty of knowingly selling products imported from China that had not undergone the necessary safety checks and did not comply with relevant safety standards.

The court concluded Mr Louch was the seller, importer and distributor of Caltrad Ltd, a trading company selling products through the Amazon website under the name Chinkyboo-Caltrad.

Mr Louch received a fine of £1,500 for two counts with a further fine of £1000 for the other two charges. He was also ordered to pay court costs of £45,878 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Between February and March 2014 Suffolk Trading Standards carried out a series of test purchases of products from the company, these included purchasing medical equipment and children’s scooters, all of which fell short of the required consumer standards.

Suffolk Trading Standards also carried out an inspection of Mr Louch’s QM Industrial Park warehouse in Sproughton Road, Ipswich.

They found foldable two-wheeled scooters designed for children that had been imported from China.

The scooters presented a risk of finger crushing, skin puncture and affixation from the packaging. The three wheel scooter presented a risk of ejection/going over the handle bars.

Upon further investigation trading standards found that the defendant had already been widely distributing products to families across the UK despite not receiving any safety certification from his Chinese supplier – Mr Sunny Zou.

The court heard Mr Louch was well aware that his supplier was unreliable and untrustworthy and had previously been cautioned for using this supplier to buy electrical travel adapters that had earlier been found to present a risk of electrocution.

A further indication of Mr Louch’s disregard for safety was his later agreement with his Chinese supplier to secretly off-load the remaining stock of dangerous child scooters in Germany.

A series of e-mails revealed to the court showed the defendant devising to hide other products from Trading Standards and ship them to Germany where he could resume selling.

Suffolk County Councillor Matthew Hicks, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Colin Louch knowingly sold unsafe products imported from China that presented a serious risk to all who used them; he plainly cared little for the safety of these products and those that had the misfortune to buy them.

“If a trader does not comply with these important safety requirements, and continuously disregards his responsibilities, it is for trading standards to take action to protect the public, especially young children, from serious injuries.”