A company in Stevenage has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,811 in costs after pleading guilty to supplying a part-worn tyre which failed to meet the safety requirements of the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 following a prosecution brought by Hertfordshire Trading Standards.
Akbary Tyres Ltd also failed to inform the buyer that the tyre was 14 years old, a misleading omission under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
On sentencing, the court said that selling tyres in this condition was not only dangerous but a serious offence.
Cllr Terry Hone, Executive Member for Community Safety, said: “We hope that this sends a message to the part-worn tyre market in Hertfordshire that we take these matters very seriously. Our consumers should be able to expect that any tyre they buy for road use complies with safety standards.
“We will continue to support businesses with advice and conduct covert test-purchasing when necessary to help protect consumers and keep them safe on the road and improve standards.”
At the hearing on January 15, the court heard that an officer from Hertfordshire Trading Standards visited Akbary Tyres on July 4, 2019 to make a test purchase acting as a consumer.
He asked the company to supply and fit a part-worn tyre to a wheel rim he had brought with him and paid £35. It was later noted that the tyre supplied was a Pirelli winter tyre which had been manufactured in 2005 and had the partially legible words “part worn” stamped in the wrong place.
The tyre was then examined by an independent tyre consultant who noted tyre damage likely to compromise the tyre’s integral strength and could lead to rapid deflation whilst in use. The tyre was therefore deemed unsafe.
The expert also concluded that the 14-year-old tyre should not have been sold due to its age-related deterioration, including rubber cracking in the tread grooves. There were also many stones embedded in the tread which could penetrate the tyre and cause serious damage.
Simon Brown, Chair of Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership said: “Tyres are a safety critical component on every vehicle. They are the only part of a vehicle in contact with the road surface and play a vital role when braking, steering, cornering and accelerating. Poor tyre safety is one of the most common vehicle contributory factors in collisions where people are killed or seriously injured.
“Hertfordshire Trading Standards are key members of our Road Safety Partnership. Test purchasing operations such as this are crucial in preventing needless road death and injury.”