Garden company fined over dangerous zapper

Importer fined £6,000 after insect killer electricutes Suffolk man

A garden company has been fined more than £6,000 after a Suffolk man suffered an electric shock that threw him to the floor. Hertfordshire-based importer Westwoods (Garden) Ltd has been fined following a prosecution by Suffolk County Council’s trading standards department. Westwoods (Garden) pleaded guilty to the charges at Ipswich magistrates’ court and was fined £1,500 for each of the two offences under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,625. The company admitted its bug zapper retained a full mains charge of 220V for three hours after it was turned off. Regulations state that the voltage should drop below 34V one second after being turned off. The case emerged after Terence Cook, from Ipswich, suffered an electric shock, although no lasting damage was inflicted. Magistrates also heard that Christmas lights imported by Westwoods (Garden), seized by trading standards officers in late December 2004, were found to have a number of defects that could have caused an electric shock. The risk was so serious that trading standards ensured all sets were suspended from sale. Westwoods (Garden) was fined £1,500 for this offence. No-one was available to comment at the Ware-based company, which has served the UK garden and hardware sectors since 1996.

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