A trader has been fined more than £20,000 after he was caught selling illegal skin lightening products online.
Ishtiaq Ahmad, of Etchingham Road, Leyton, pleaded guilty to a string of consumer protection offences at Thames Magistrates Court last Friday (September 7).
The court heard how Ahmad had been running cosmetics business Beautycare Fashion Ltd out of his own home since 2015
The businessman would sell his products using two separate accounts on eBay, “Beautycare_fashion” and “beautydesire_27”.
Some of the goods contain the banned ingredient hydroquinone, as well as several other items that were illegally labelled.
Officers from Waltham Forest Council’s trading standards team executed a warrant at Ahmad’s home in October last year, after receiving a tip-off he was selling banned skin lighteners.
During their search of Ahmad’s house, officers discovered and seized 1,857 illegal cosmetic products.
Some contained hydroquinone, which can potentially cause skin cancer, irritation, hyperpigmentation, organ-system toxicity and respiratory tract irritation.
At the Magistrates Court Mr Ishtiaq Ahmad identified himself as being the Company Director of Beautycare Fashion Ltd and owning both Ebay accounts Beautycare_fashion and beautydesire_27.
Mr Ahmad explained that he had relied on the provision of suppliers’ invoices as being sufficient information to ensure the compliance of the illegal and unsafe cosmetic products.
In mitigation, Mr Ahmad’s legal representative conceded his client had been negligent.
He explained further that Mr Ahmad is receiving an employment and support allowance and is awaiting a liver transplant.
However, magistrates ruled the trader could have caused his customers serious harm.
He was ordered to pay a total of £20,170 in fines and costs after admitting eight offences under the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013.
Waltham Forest Council deputy leader, Clyde Loakes, said: “We are very pleased with this result as it shows that the courts and the borough will not tolerate this type of crime.
“It does not matter what type of business they are and what excuse they may have, if they are breaking the law and putting people in harm’s way, then we will do everything we can to prosecute them.”
In another development,
A Barking beauty salon owner was slapped with a £10,000 fine and a three-month suspended sentence for the sale of illegal skin bleaching products in his store.
The product can cause skin irritation and, in severe cases, kidney and liver damage.
Augustin Koloko, 47, director of Koloko Cosmetics Ltd T/A Supreme White beauty salon in East Street, was found to be selling the banned product.
Products containing the banned substance hydroquinone, a chemical used to lighten skin were found on sale at Koloko’s premises. These products are banned in the UK when not issued by a doctor
Mr Koloko pleaded guilty to two acts of failing to act with due care and was found guilty at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on 18th August 2017.
Cllr Laila Butt, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: “This prosecution once again sends out a clear message- cosmetic products that contain banned substances can be dangerous and can be extremely damaging.”