Havering’s Trading Standards officers urge residents to be safe when buying gifts this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 December 2019

A stock image of a house decorated in a variety of Christmas lights. Picture: PA

A stock image of a house decorated in a variety of Christmas lights. Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The borough’s safety officers helped stop the sale of more than 16,000 unauthorised Christmas lights that were being imported into the country from China.

Havering Council's Trading Standards team is calling on residents to take extra care against possible fake goods and scams this winter.

The advice comes as council safety officers worked with colleagues from National Trading Standards to stop 13 batches containing around 16,925 Christmas and novelty lights, without any instructions of contact details, from being imported into the country.

Concerns were raised when examination of the lights revealed that there were no manufacturer or safety instructions with the products.

Almost 3,000 Christmas tree lights, which plug directly into the mains, were also identified as being unsafe after being tested.

These tests showed that if used the lights posed a dangerous risk of an electric shock.

A council spokeswoman said: "Whether buying online, in-store or at markets, advice and tips are available to help residents to be safe.

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"This includes not being taken in by deals that might look like they will save them money or enable them to get the item quicker, but in fact, means they will end up with an unsafe present or no gift at all."

All of the lights that were deemed to be unsafe will be destroyed.

Others will be sent for modification which involves including safety instructions and contact details before they can be considered safe to be on sale to the public.

Havering's stay safe guide advises residents to always ensure that electrical goods have the CE mark, the manufacturer's identity and a 3-pin plug with instructions and warnings.

When it comes to counterfeit goods, items such as DVDs, clothing, electrical goods such as hair straighteners, jewellery and children's toys, while they may appear to be a bargain the goods often are not.

A sign that a product could be fake is often poor quality.

The council warns that purchasing fake goods, even unwittingly, means you could be supporting criminal activity.

For safety consumer advice this Christmas call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit

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