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Primrose Hill vampire fangs seller bitten by law after child’s mouth sliced open

14:00 27 June 2014

Businessman Jonathan Laidlaw outside Highbury Corner Magistrates

Businessman Jonathan Laidlaw outside Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court. Picture: Central News

Archant

A businessman who sold hazardous Halloween vampire fangs to children has narrowly escaped jail.

Jonathan Laidlaw, 56, of Chalcot Road, Primrose Hill, imported dozens of packets of Fright Fangs that sliced into mouths and gums and posed a serious choking risk.

The treacherous teeth came to light after a 12-year-old girl cut her mouth open on one of the Chinese-made toys she had bought at a shop in Islington.

Laidlaw, director of J L Supplies Limited, was ordered to pay £5,200 in fines and costs after he admitted not checking that the fancy dress fangs met UK health and safety regulations.

Passing sentence at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on last Friday, District Judge Janet Cooper said: “There are a number of matters that relate to these fangs sold at Halloween, clearly for use by children, which cause injury and potential for causing them to choke.”

She added: “These are quite serious matters.

“You need to be aware that if you come back before the court for any matter similar to this you will be facing a custodial sentence.

“You have come very close today to receiving a sentence of imprisonment.”

Trading Standards were called in after the 12-year-old girl bought the fangs for £1.20 from Zebedee, in Liverpool Road, Islington.

The fangs were sent away for testing and failed the safety checks.

Prosecutor Mumtaz Keshani said: “The material which should have been free from roughness was a problem and causing wounds and abrasions.

“The product was intended to be placed in the mouth in close contact with sensitive areas – it was not up to standard. The components posed a choking hazard for any child.”

Some 87 sets have since been seized and an unknown number recalled by Laidlaw to be destroyed.

Laidlaw was ordered to pay £2,000 in fines, £2,000 costs and a £200 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to four charges relating to the supply of goods that do not satisfy the essential safety requirements.

His company was fined £1,000.

He said: “I would like to thank Trading Standards, they have guided me well and I’m a lot more careful now.”

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