Shop keeper imported jewellery with 1,300 times the safe amount of lead - but said it was okay because he tested it on his family

-Credit: (Image: Copyright Unknown)
-Credit: (Image: Copyright Unknown)

Fake poppies and jewellery with dangerous levels of lead have been seized after the dodgy goods were imported to Manchester.

Some 422 poppy pins, 110 items of jewellery, 200 light up toys, and 136 ‘Marvel’ toys were confiscated by officers for being counterfeit — all of which were imported by Miku Accessories and Gifts Ltd. The company, based on Derby Street, imported a further 73 toys which lacked the correct labelling.

The poppies were not authorised by the Royal British Legion — the charity which organises and benefits from the official poppy appeal. But the goods could have also presented a risk to health.

That’s because after seizing rings, testing found the jewellery contained 1,300 times the safe amount of lead allowed, and higher than safe levels of nickel. Light-up toys also had problems like the plastic cap and battery box fitting inconsistently and fixed-on with a varying quality of adhesive.

Trading Standards officers believe this could have resulted in a child gaining access to the internal wiring. They also said other elements were found to be too small, posing a potential choking hazard.

The hooky gear was located after a tip-off to Manchester council in 2022, who tracked down Miku as the importer from China. When interviewed by officers, the company’s director, Ling Bin Li, of Broad Road, Sale, said he relied on verbal confirmation that goods are compliant with laws in the country they are shipped to.

The 49-year-old also stated that items are tested on his family members to ensure their safety before being sold to the public. Additionally, Li claimed not to be aware of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulations as well as the Toy Safety Regulations and the Trade Marks Act.

Counterfeit Marvel Toys imported by Miku Accessories and Gifts Ltd -Credit:Copyright Unknown
Counterfeit Marvel Toys imported by Miku Accessories and Gifts Ltd -Credit:Copyright Unknown

On Monday (June 3), Li pleaded guilty to offences under the REACH Act, Toy Safety Regulations and the Trade Marks Act. He accepted that he did not conduct due diligence over the products which were being sold, and that he did not check the relevant regulations.

Li was sentenced to pay a fine of £2,000, a victim surcharge of £190 and costs of £2,000. The business was ordered to pay a £6,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £190 and costs of £2,340. A forfeiture order was granted for the items seized by Trading Standards.

After the result, Coun Lee-Ann Igbon, executive member for vibrant neighbourhoods, said the authority is ‘entirely committed to ensuring that people in Manchester are able to shop safely’.

She added: “The work of our Trading Standards team is invaluable in making sure that dangerous products do not make their way into the homes of ordinary people. This sentence should send a firm message to traders who think they can skirt the law and disregard safety regulations which are in place for a very good reason.”

The Manchester Evening News has approached Ling Bin Li for comment.