A COMPUTER repair and refurbishment business in Poole has been hit with a court bill of more than £100,000 after it imported unsafe and fraudulent chargers for Apple products.

More than 1,400 items were seized from CK IT Solutions Limited when trading standards officers visited the company’s base at Holes Bay Business Park.

This came after a shipment of 220 products imported by the business was held at East Midlands Airport in October 2018 due to concerns over safety and authenticity.

Following an investigation by BCP Council, the firm was taken to court where it admitted offences relating to electrical safety and fake goods.

At a hearing on May 7, Bournemouth Crown Court ruled the company had derived a benefit of £100,000 from its criminal conduct and the business was told to pay a confiscation order for this total sum within three months under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In addition, Judge Brian Forster QC issued a £4,000 fine and ordered the company to pay £2,500 costs and a £170 surcharge. This £6,670 bill must be paid within 12 months.

He also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the 1,446 items seized from the business’s premises in Sterte Avenue.

Bournemouth Echo: Items seized by trading standards officers. Picture: BCP CouncilItems seized by trading standards officers. Picture: BCP Council

Syan Ventom, prosecuting, said a small number of the chargers were sent for testing and analysis, with them deemed to be counterfeit and unsafe as they posed a risk of electrical shock.

The court heard CK IT Solutions Ltd had been using the same supplier from outside the European Union for several years and had not been conducting PAT tests on the items, instead just checking they were powering the laptops.

“The company, in light of these proceedings, has changed its procedures. It now purchases all items from accredited UK suppliers,” said Mr Ventom.

Bournemouth Echo: The chargers were for Apple devices. Picture: BCP CouncilThe chargers were for Apple devices. Picture: BCP Council

Mitigating, Richard Tutt, said the company believed it was buying genuine products from a factory that manufactured items for Apple.

“There was little or no distinguishable difference between a genuine product and the ones that they supplied,” said Mr Tutt.

He added that the company has cooperated throughout the investigation, alongside voluntary steps to rectify the problem.

Mr Tutt said the business is continuing to work hard to succeed and is optimistic for the future after a difficult few years operating at a loss.

The court heard no complaints had been made from customers relating to the chargers that had been sold alongside laptops.

Bournemouth Echo: The court heard the company tested the chargers by just seeing if they powered laptops. Picture: BCP CouncilThe court heard the company tested the chargers by just seeing if they powered laptops. Picture: BCP Council

The company previously admitted an offence under the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations 2016 and a second charge under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Judge Forster QC said: “The company is a small company working hard and legitimately to have a successful business.”

He said the supplier provided items which did not meet safety regulations and “were in effect counterfeit goods”.

“There must be an ongoing obligation on a company to ensure the goods provided are safe for members of the public to use,” said Judge Forster QC.

“It is clear the company has responded and has improved their systems.”

In a statement after the hearing, Cllr May Haines, BCP Council portfolio holder for community safety, said: “Ensuring the safety of the community and customers should be of the upmost importance to businesses, so it is extremely disappointing and concerning that this business acted so carelessly and put people at risk.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr May HainesCllr May Haines

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this prosecution and the work of our trading standards officers who are dedicated to ensuring that companies meet the required safety standards at all times.”

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