Aldridge couple face jail for selling toxic Disney dolls
Some of the fake dolls had chemical compound levels more than 2,000 times the legal limit.
A couple have been warned they face jail after admitting selling fake Disney dolls, some of which were toxic with chemical compound levels more than 2,000 times the legal limit.
Lee Scully and Tracey Cockbill continued the illegal business despite having their selling rights suspended by Amazon amid fears they were trading in apparently counterfeit goods.
The pair switched to selling bogus China-made Disney toys via the Facebook Trade and Sell website, Sandwell Trading Standards officials discovered.
They launched an investigation after a major poison alert involving fake dolls from the Disney blockbuster film Frozen prompted a woman to report the purchase of two of the toys through the website in the run up to Christmas three years ago.
The 'Frozen' dolls were sent for scientific testing while an Android Tablet PC, also purchased by the same woman from the website, went to Trade Mark experts for checking.
Investigators monitored the suspect Facebook account and kept watch on addresses linked to 39-year-old Cockbill and Scully, aged 37, which were later searched on successive days in April 2015.
This revealed the pair were involved in the importation and sale of counterfeit goods along with the sale of Android TV set boxes that could be used for illegal streaming of subscription-only soccer matches and movies.
Further inquiries disclosed that a batch of 100 bogus Disney Cinderella Dolls was awaiting collection by the couple after being imported from China.
Checks on the Frozen dolls found the level of phthalates - a chemical that gives plastic models flexibility - which should not have a concentration greater than 0.1 per cent was over 20 per cent, said Trading Standards officials.
The tablet PC sent for examination was discovered to have a power lead which broke electronic safety rules and created a danger of injury while being unplugged, it was said.
Cockbill and Scully, previously of Walsall Wood Road, Aldridge, pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court to toy safety breaches on the fake Frozen dolls and breaking Disney copyright on both those and the Cinderella dolls.
They also admitted offering faulty electrical equipment for sale and having a fake Android brand name on Tablet CDs and TV box sets. The offences were committed between December 2014 and April 2015.
Mr Tim Harrington, defending, asked for pre-sentence reports for the couple because they were now involved in two legitimate businesses in Wales involving furniture renovation and an ice cream parlour.
Judge Barry Berlin adjourned the case until February when full details will be given to the court, but told the defendants: "These are serious matters for which the authorities say immediate custodial sentences ought to be imposed, so do not take succour from the fact I am adjourning this case for reports."