Hemel tyre dealer fined

Published: 22 Aug 2018

Following an undercover investigation a Hemel tyre dealer has been fined for supplying an unsafe, part-worn tyre.

On Thursday 16 August at St Albans Magistrates Court , Junaid Akhtar (27) of Upper Belmont Road in Chesham was found guilty of supplying an unsafe, part-worn tyre from his sole trader business, Hemel Tyres and ordered to pay over £7,000 in fines and costs.

The court heard that an undercover officer had test purchased the part-worn tyre from Hemel Tyres at Unit 1, 74 Bury Road in Hemel Hempstead, being served by Akhtar personally, as part of a project by Trading Standards on 27 July 2017. There had been a written warning from Trading Standards in similar circumstances back in 2013.

The tyre had a patch only repair, when the law permits only a mushroom patch or a patch and filler combination.

The court heard from an independent tyre expert, Mr Stephen Dolby, consultant on behalf of TyreSafe, the UK’s tyre safety charity, how the untreated penetration hole allowed for water ingress, which would necessarily cause the plies to rust and in time cause the tyre’s integral strength to deteriorate. This could have resulted in a rapid deflation whilst in use. He concluded it was unsafe.

When the Trading Standards Officer asked for the supplier details, Akhtar could not provide traceability.

Akhtar was fined £1,600 for each of the three offences, two relating to the tyre safety and one for being a retail ‘distributor’ without keeping the appropriate records. He was also ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £2,325.

In reaching their verdict the Magistrates commended the prosecution’s witnesses for being clear and reliable, in contrast to the evidence from Akhtar.

They said they were shocked at this case and had considered the potential implications of selling unsafe tyres as accidents and loss of life.

In determining the penalties they said that they had considered a custodial sentence and that the case easily met the threshold for a community order.

They reiterated that they regarded this case as a serious matter and warned Akhtar to amend his procedures, as Trading Standards would be sure to keep a close eye on him and if there were further offences it was highly likely to result in prison.

Terry Hone, Executive Member for Community Safety, said: “We hope that this sends a message to the part-worn tyre market in Hertfordshire that we take these matters very seriously. Our consumers should be able to expect that any tyre they buy for road use complies with safety standards.

“We will continue to support businesses with advice and conduct covert test-purchasing when necessary to help protect consumers and keep them safe on the road and improve standards."

Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe, said: “Tyres are a safety critical component on every vehicle – when they are driven in an unroadworthy condition, a vehicle’s braking and steering are compromised, and road users are put at significant risk of a catastrophic failure. Despite that, a significant proportion of part worn retailers take their responsibilities too lightly and systematically supply defective and dangerous tyres without a second thought.

"TyreSafe supports the magistrate’s opinion on the severity of this offence and hope the penalties act as a warning to other part worn dealers to ensure they are compliant with the regulations.”