Surrey trading standards officers have uncovered a haul of unsafe hoverboards destined to be sold as Christmas presents or used at children’s parties.
They intercepted a £7,000 consignment of 51 self-balancing boards imported from China and sent them for testing to see if they complied with electrical safety standards.
They will now ensure the boards can never be used by the public after checks showed that chargers and battery packs supplied with the products pose a fire risk.
The boards, also known as self-balancing scooters or balance boards, were destined to be used at events and parties in the region or sold online.
They were brought into the country via Heathrow Airport and sent to an inspection point in Surrey where officers with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards* spotted possible safety risks.
A further consignment of 90 hoverboards has been impounded while officers check they are safe. They will only be released to the market if they meet all required standards.
The Back to the Future-style boards have surged in popularity in recent months and are expected to be one of the biggest-selling gadgets this Christmas.
But reports have emerged of poor quality versions exploding and catching fire because they lack proper safety functions.
Trading standards officers are investigating a case in Buckinghamshire where a woman was injured after a hoverboard belonging to her 10-year-old son exploded in a bedroom, sending burning fragments flying across the room.
Shoppers are now being urged to be on their guard when buying hoverboards.
As National Trading Standards highlighted the scale of safety problems with hoverboards arriving at ports and airports around the country, the organisation issued advice for consumers considering buying a board.
Tips include being wary of bargains on hoverboards and prices which seem too good to be true.
Richard Walsh, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing, said: ‘Our vigilant trading standards officers sent these products to be tested for electrical problems which confirmed their suspicions that the boards could put people’s safety at risk.
‘We would urge anyone considering giving a hoverboard for Christmas to do their homework before buying and follow the advice from National Trading Standards.’
Anyone who has concerns about a product they have seen for sale or have already bought should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
* Buckinghamshire and Surrey operate a joint trading standards service