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‘Dangerous’ e-scooters seized in Skegness as police issue warning about illegal riding

‘Dangerous’ e-scooters were seized from a Lincolnshire market, as police remind people that they are illegal to use on public pavements and roads.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards has secured a prosecution against a Fantasy Island trader in Ingoldmells for selling e-scooters that were liable to catch fire or even explode.

During a purchase at Fantasy Island Toys and Gifts in September and October 2022, Trading Standards officers found a total of 30 unsafe e-scooters for sale on the stall.

E-scooter stock
E-scooter stock

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Five of the scooters were sent away for testing and they were found to have counterfeit plugs and fuses, which means they presented a risk of electrocution, causing a fire, or even exploding.

The e-scooters were also missing important legal safety information, so they did not meet UK labelling requirements.

The trader, Patrick Doherty, was interviewed by Lincolnshire Trading Standards and admitted to importing some of the products from China and not conducting any checks to make sure they were safe to use in the UK.

At Boston Magistrates Court on 4 December 2023, 55-year-old Doherty, of St Andrews Road, Skegness, pleaded guilty to toy safety offences and was ordered to pay £3,502 – including a £644 fine, a £258 victim surcharge, and contributions to costs of £2,600.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards officer, Neil Bartlett, said: “Mr Doherty had previous convictions for toy safety offences, so he is well aware of what his responsibilities are to make sure the products he sells are safe and legal.

“We buy and test popular items like these as part of our ongoing product safety sampling, to help keep consumers in the county safe from dangerous merchandise. And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s a stark reminder to check that the presents you’re buying are from reputable businesses and are safe to use.

“E-scooters in particular are a really popular choice this year for children and young people; don’t run the risk of injuring your family by buying unsafe toys or electricals.”

Lincolnshire Police reminded the public that if you buy an e-scooter it will not be legal to use it on public pavements or roads.

Inspector Jason Baxter said: “Our approach to this will be to engage and educate. When that fails, we will enforce. We know that e-scooters are probably on Christmas lists this year, and may be tempting in the January sales, we just want people to think twice before buying a product that’s so limited in where you can legally use it.”

The penalties for using an e-scooter illegally include a fixed penalty notice, a fine of up to £300, up to six penalty points and seizure of the e-scooter.

In Lincolnshire, the only place you can legally use an e-scooter is on private land, with the permission of the land owner.

Police reported an incident that took place in Grantham back in June, where an e-scooter rider collided with a toddler on New Beacon Road, where it joins Harrowby Lane.

In Spalding town centre, three e-scooters were seized by the police in October, as part of a crackdown on illegal use of them.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue issued this advice to anyone thinking of buying one after safety concerns over e-scooters regarding charging and battery storage.

As part of a trial, rental e-scooters are allowed on public roads and cycle lanes in approved areas in some cities (not currently Lincoln) provided you have the correct licence and follow road traffic regulations.

When buying toys or electronics, look for the ‘CE’ or ‘UKCA’ marking on the box, and make sure you can see the name and address of the manufacturer.

Dan Moss, area manager for prevention and protection at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Even legal e-scooters and e-bikes pose a fire risk if they’re not used, stored and charged properly. But that risk increases immensely if the product itself uses fake or low-quality electrical parts that don’t meet UK regulations.

“As well as making sure your e-scooters are legal, only ever charge them when you’re around – never overnight or whilst you’re out – and avoid charging them indoors or near flammable materials.

“Remember that you must wear a helmet if using an e-scooter, and they can only be used on private land with the landowners permission.”

If you think someone might be selling unsafe or illegal products, you can report this to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service. Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer or call the consumer helpline for free on 0808 223 1133.

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