AN Isle of Wight councillor has been prosecuted following the sale of dangerous counterfeit novelty items.
Wayne Whittle, Conservative member for the Isle of Wight Council for Ryde North East, appeared before Reading magistrates on October 19 after admitting two charges of selling counterfeit goods and two further charges relating to the sale of unsafe goods.
Whittle, 49, of Binstead Hill, was fined £500 with a surcharge of £15.
The company of which he is a director, Matrix Retail Ltd, was also ordered to pay £1,000 in fines, a £15 surcharge and £1,000 in prosecution costs on a further four similar charges.
Whittle opened the Christmas Shop in Bracknell town centre, Berkshire, for the festive season in 2011.
Before Christmas 2011, trading standards officers seized a number of items from the store on safety grounds, including giant lighters and toy skateboards.
Tests of the lighters revealed they could explode if dropped and melt or distort in use.
Whittle had previously been warned of the dangers of giant lighters in the summer of 2011 by Isle of Wight trading standards.
Additionally, counterfeit Ped Egg and Snuggie items were offered for sale in the store. Surrey County Council had previously warned Whittle regarding selling counterfeit Ped Egg items in 2009.
John Nash, trading standards team manager at Bracknell Forest Council, said: "Mr Whittle had been selling unsafe counterfeit goods in seasonal shops around the South East of England.
"We are pleased with the fines imposed on Mr Whittle and his business and we hope this serves as a warning to any businesses in the area who might be selling counterfeit goods."
Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Whittle said he had been away from the business caring for his mother, who was suffering from lung cancer, and staff had put out some old items he thought had been disposed of.
He said: "I have been trading for 20 years and have never been taken to court by trading standards. It was an unfortunate situation. I am sorry it happened."