British timber operator Hardwood Dimensions (Holdings) Ltd today (2 March) was fined £4,000 for breaching regulations prohibiting the importing and sale of illegally harvested timber.
The fine marked the first enforcement action carried out by the Government’s new Office for Product Safety and Standards since its establishment earlier this year.
Hardwood’s failed to check the legality of a batch of timber from Cameroon when placing it on the market, breaching regulations requiring businesses trading in timber and timber products in the UK to ensure that their products originate from legal sources.
At Manchester Magistrates Court, the company was convicted and fined £4,000 plus costs after pleading guilty at the first hearing.
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:
The new Office for Product Safety and Standards strengthens the UK’s already tough product safety and enforcement rules and today’s decision by the court sends a powerful message to companies that they need to ensure any products they sell originate from legitimate sources.
Mike Kearney, Head of Enforcement at the Office for Product Safety and Standards, said:
This conviction shows just how serious we are about compliance issues and how we will take rapid action when rules have been broken to protect consumers, businesses and the environment.
Taking into account their mitigation and credit for an early guilty plea, Hardwood’s was fined £4,000 plus a victim surcharge of £170 and prosecution costs of £3,273. The total of £7,443 was ordered to be paid within 28 days.