A Nottingham trader has today been jailed for manufacturing and supplying an unsafe cosmetic solution which caused serious injuries to teenagers across the country.
Nottingham Crown Court had previously heard that the aftercare saline product, produced by Lion Care Products Limited, of Basford, was supposed to be sprayed on to fresh piercings to keep the area clean and help with healing.
But it caused a dangerous bacterial infection resulting in victims around the country, many of them teenagers, being hospitalised and left with permanent disfiguration to their ears.
The product caused a national outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which was identified by Public Health England. Officials acted quickly to establish a team of specialists and agencies around the country to identify the cause of the infection and co-ordinate its removal from the market.
Lion Care Products Ltd was found to be the cause of the outbreak, and Nottingham City Council’s trading standards and environmental health teams, both part of the Community Protection department, worked in partnership to investigate the company.
At the same time, environmental health officers around the country urgently visited premises and contacted clients known to have been supplied the product to recall the bottles.
Lion Care Products Ltd and its controlling director, Maninder Singh Sagoo, pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Cosmetic Product Enforcement Regulations 2013 on 11 October 2017.
Today (Friday), Mr Sagoo attended Nottingham Crown Court to receive his own and his company’s sentence.
The defendant has been handed a nine-month jail sentence, while Lion Care Products Ltd has been fined £15,000, with £18,138 costs. There was also a £5,000 Proceeds of Crime Confiscation Order.
The court heard victim impact statements which talked of the ‘significant injuries and distress’ to victims and their families around the country.
Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a very important result for the council and is an example of the great work our team does on a daily basis to protect the public.
“The harm caused in this case by putting profit ahead of the safety of customers, plus the penalties imposed by the court, should send a message to businesses that they must comply with the relevant legislation to ensure that any cosmetic products they manufacture or supply are safe.”
Head of Nottingham Trading Standards, Jane Bailey, added: “This cosmetic product has caused significant injuries and distress to victims and their families around the country, and for this reason it is a matter which we take particularly seriously.
“The pain and suffering experienced by victims of this terrible infection was wholly avoidable, but Mr Sagoo took no care whatsoever to ensure that the product he was manufacturing and supplying was safe.
“No safety checks were carried out, no quality control was in place, no files were kept in relation to the product and the labels on the bottles were both inadequate and contained a false CE Mark, misleading people to believe that the product had been certified as safe.”
Consumers are urged to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 if they require pre-shopping advice, or if they are concerned about the safety of a product that they have recently purchased.