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Havering chemists and mechanics caught ‘profiteering’ from coronavirus pandemic, says Trading Standards

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 April 2020

Bottles of hand sanitiser without safety labels that were seized from a Romford pharmacy.  Picture: Havering Council

Bottles of hand sanitiser without safety labels that were seized from a Romford pharmacy. Picture: Havering Council

Havering Council

Mechanics in Havering have been reported to Trading Standards for allegedly trying to sell “Covid-19 testing kits” to their customers.

Mechanics in Havering were reportedly trying to sell 'Covid-19 testing kits. Picture posed by model: Press AssociationMechanics in Havering were reportedly trying to sell 'Covid-19 testing kits. Picture posed by model: Press Association

Investigators have also been alerted to a chemist who was tipping children’s painkillers into smaller bottles which could be sold individually.

They were among eight cases reported to Trading Standards in the first three weeks of lockdown, of Havering businesses “profiteering” from the coronavirus pandemic.

The news followed a bust by Trading Standards last month, in which a chemist was caught selling illegal, home-made hand sanitiser.

A council spokesman said: “A chemist made up their own hand sanitiser. The products did not comply with the legal requirements and did not have the required safety labelling.

“The hand sanitisers were seized and the chemist received a verbal and written warning.

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“We have had an example of a chemist breaking down children’s liquid paracetamol into small bottles, and a car repair garage attempting to sell Covid-19 testing kits.

“As these concern medicines, they have both been referred to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency (MHRA) for follow-up.”

The council also received 30 reports of businesses - mainly shops and grooming businessses - remaining open unnecessarily during lockdown. But when officers visited, all but one had already ceased trading.

The council worked with one business – a vape shop – to determine whether it should be allowed to remain open on medical grounds.

A spokesman explained: “We sought clarity over whether vape stores are to be included in those essential premises that can remain open, given their vital role in helping people to stop smoking.”

But council lawyers concluded the store was not entitled to carry on trading.

The latest, a council spokesman added, was that, “There are currently only three open queries on non-essential trading, two of which are awaiting the complainant to give an address.

“Traders which are alleged to be overcharging/profiteering receive advice to ensure that goods are clearly priced (with the unit/selling price) and that they do not mislead the public.”


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