Flaming hoverboards: Officers warn families and sellers in South Tyneside

Trading standards have been scouring South Tyneside for unsafe hoverboards as councillors are briefed on the toys' dangers.

The council’s licensing and regulatory committee listened to a product safety report on the electric toy, which was a popular Christmas gift for youngsters.

The report, which was heard at Jarrow Town Hall yesterday, revealed how trading standards had been regularly visiting South Shields Market in a bid to spot hoverboards which were unsafe, as a number of boards across the country had been bursting into flames due to dodgy wiring and charging points.

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However, so far none have been found on sale in the borough.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Hoverboards were one of the latest crazes last Christmas. However their rise in popularity highlighted the importance of electrical safety, with incidents involving unsafe hoverboards and a number of products recalls being widely reported across the country.

“To help protect South Tyneside consumers, our trading standards officers carried out visits to local retailers and market traders advising them of the safety concerns around hoverboards, although none were found to be on sale in the borough.

“Officers also gave advice to concerned residents who had bought the product from online retailers.

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“We would urge people buying hoverboards to follow national advice to ensure their safety. We would also like to remind people that hoverboards are not permitted to be used on 
public pavements and roads and can only legally be used on private property with 
the land owner’s permission.”

Between October 15 last year and last month, the National Trading Standards Ports and Borders Point project, working at ports such as Felixstowe, intercepted 48,879 hoverboards, and of these 89% – or 43,722 – were considered to be unsafe.

The borough’s trading standards team received a number of calls from members of the public who were concerned about the quality of their hoverboards.

The council also issued an appeal just before Christmas for people to get in touch if they were worried.

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The report stated: “The service did receive a number of complains and enquiries from local residents concerned about the products, advice was given as to what steps they should take in order to obtain a refund.

“One product was tested at the Joint Metrology Laboratory in Gateshead. This item failed to comply with various regulations and safety standards. The pins on the plug were not the correct size and the plug was not fused.”

The committee was recommended to make note of the information contained within the report.

Anyone who has bought a hoverboard or has an electrical device they suspect may be unsafe is encouraged to stop using it immediately, do not charge the product and get in touch with the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.