The owners of a garden centre have been fined for selling items which “posed a serious fire risk” to customers.
Hornsea?Garden Centre, which is run by the managers of Woodthorpe Hall Garden Centre in Lincolnshire, was found to be offering furniture and cushions which did not meet fire safety requirements.
Trading standards officers visited the firm’s East Yorkshire premises in December, and found a large display of upholstery which did not have appropriate labelling.?When concerns were raised about this, the company claimed it could provide evidence from its suppliers to confirm they were safe, but was eventually unable to prove they were legitimate.
A grey upholstered dining chair, a leather dining chair and four cushions were seized by the authorities from Hornsea Garden Centre and failed flammability tests by independent inspectors.
Company secretary Philippa Stubbs admitted the company did not have procedures in place to check the labelling of products before the items were put on sale.?The firm was prosecuted alongside two of its suppliers, Coventry-based Mosley Trading, and Orchid Designs from Huddersfield.
Michael Robinson, director of Orchid Designs, told officers that his firm supplied cushions to stately homes and the Queen. He claimed in interviews that he had “misread the guidance” and assumed that the material used did not need testing before items were put on sale.
Jane Mosley, of Mosley Trading Company, also admitted no physical checks were carried out on upholstered furniture and they had relied solely on factory supplied test reports.?Woodthorpe Hall Garden Centre Ltd pleaded guilty to nine offences at Beverley?Magistrates Courtand was fined ?18,000, plus costs of ?3,782. Mosley Trading Company was fined a total of ?2,000 for each of eight offences committed, and told to pay costs of ?3,615.54.?Orchid Design Ltd was fined ?1,250 for each of two offences committed and told to pay costs of ?3,325.76.
Colin Briggs, trading standards manager at East Riding Council, said: “These chairs and cushions were very dangerous and posed a serious fire risk to those who had bought them.
“The companies involved in this case were all experienced traders who failed in their obligations in relation to the safety regulations when simple physical checks would have revealed the inadequate labelling of the products.
“I would urge anyone buying items such as cushions and soft furnishings to ensure they have the correct safety labels attached so they know the items they are taking into their homes are safe.”