Dangerous tyre sales leads to convictions

The sale of dangerous tyres to unsuspecting motorists has led to the conviction of six retailers of part worn tyres from the Brent and Harrow area of London within the space of a week.

Top Tyres & Auto Parts Ltd (Wembley); Whitchurch Road Tyres (Harrow); Pinner Road Tyres Ltd (Harrow); Quick Car Repairs Ltd (Harrow); Mr Walazedeh trading as Harrow Tyres (Harrow); and 3D Tyres Ltd (Wembley) faced 36 charges of supplying unsafe tyres, not complying with the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994. All six pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay a total of £18,009.40 in fines, including individual penalties for company directors, costs and victim surcharges.

The risk to road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, posed by the offenders’ sale of dangerous and incorrectly labelled tyres was roundly condemned by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards, TyreSafe and the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) whose cooperation led to the successful convictions.

‘One retailer wilfully selling dangerous tyres is one too many but the conviction of six in a week highlights just how many part worn dealers are flouting the law and their duty of care to the public,’ said Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. ‘Tyres are a primary safety feature on a vehicle, significantly affecting braking and steering performance – fitting sub-standard tyres endangers lives. TyreSafe is committed to supporting investigations which can lead to the prosecution and conviction of unscrupulous dealers.’

‘The standards required for part worn tyres to be deemed fit for purpose is clearly laid out in the governing regulations – there’s no excuse for selling dangerous examples,’ said Stefan Hay, Director, NTDA. ‘It’s clear that far too many part worn retailers are not adhering to those legally-binding criteria, in some cases wilfully, and they must accept this endangers lives and gives the whole industry a bad reputation. The NTDA hopes these convictions will once again remind part worn retailers that they must ensure what they sell is safe and fit for purpose, both of which can be achieved through compliance with regulations.’

Cllr James Denselow, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards said, ‘It is simply unacceptable for tyre companies to be taking shortcuts with part-worn tyres, putting drivers and their passengers at risk, in order to maximise profits. As a cheaper alternative to buying a new tyre for a car, this kind of offence also hits the poorest who cannot afford brand new tyres the most, so the outcome of these cases are particularly satisfying.’

He continued, ‘If handled properly, part-worn tyres are perfectly legal and safe, but I would ask anyone thinking of buying a tyre to check it carefully before buying, looking out for cracks, tears, the state of the tread and of course that it is properly marked as a part-worn tyre, before handing over the cash. Our Trading Standards team will never tire in their efforts to ensure the public are kept safe. I hope that these convictions serve as a warning to other tyre companies, that if they do risk public safety, there will be a hefty price to pay.’

The sale of part worn tyres is subject to the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg.7.), which is part of the Consumer Protection Act. The legal minimum for tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, but to be legal to sell part-worn tyres must have at least 2mm – just 0.4mm more than the legal limit. The tyres should not have cuts, lumps or any other damages that will compromise its structural integrity, have passed an inflation test and be marked with the part worn stamp. Motorists are reminded to check that the tyre being offered to them meets these requirements before purchasing and to consider purchasing a new tyre which has none of the potential issues of a used example.