In this section

 Multi-agency operation targets sale of part worn tyres


​GARAGES selling part worn tyres have been targeted during a week-long operation.

Officers from Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) collaborated on a week of activity with partners from Trading Standards teams at local councils to educate business owners across the region on the correct way to sell part worn tyres.

Over the past week, officers and trading standards teams visited 29 businesses in Darlington, Spennymoor, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Middlesbrough and Stockton, of which none complied fully with the regulations on how to inspect, display, mark and fit part worn tyres. Business owners were spoken to and advice was offered on how to improve their service.

The teams were also joined by officers from the Special Constabulary and partners from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Environment Agency, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and TyreSafe who carried out inspections on fire safety, illegal storage and disposal of tyres and staff working conditions. 

It is not illegal to sell part worn tyres, provided the seller follows industry guidance and standards to inspect, repair, mark and price the tyres correctly.

However, as these visits have shown, garages that sell these tyres are frequently run with untrained tyre fitters and do not comply with regulations.
Chief Inspector Graham Milne, from CDSOU, said: “While buying a part worn tyre can be financially attractive, you need to make sure that you are getting value for money.

“During this operation we have discovered tyres being sold that were 17-years-old where the internal rubber had perished, that were torn or had chunks missing and that have very little tread depth remaining.

“Good tyres keep you safe as they connect the vehicle to the road. There are some sellers of these tyres who aren’t concerned about your safety just making money. Please be careful and think about what you are really buying.

“If you can afford to, buy a new tyre as many budget tyres nowadays are very inexpensive. If you do need to buy a part worn, ask the tyre fitter if they have received any formal training, do they comply with the regulations, repair tyres to the approved British standards and do they store tyres correctly.”

The week of action was part of Operation Rogue Trader, which is a national multi-agency campaign coordinated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) with Liberal, the National Police Intelligence Unit.

As part of the operation, more than 200 vehicles were also stopped and checked for defective tyres. A total of 22 reports were given for defective tyres, underinflated tyres, driving while using a mobile phone and driving with no seatbelt. Seven vehicles were also seized for driving with no insurance, while a further 25 were given warnings for having tyres between the legal tread limit of 1.6mm and 2mm. 

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Customers have a right to expect that the goods they buy are safe and comply with the law.

“This is particularly the case when buying products such as part worn tyres. While most suppliers ensure the products they sell are safe, there are a minority that may not which is why we are visiting tyre companies to offer advice as part of this multi-agency week of action.”

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “The work with the combined agencies this week across the region has been a fantastic example of an holistic approach towards dealing with the problems associated with the sale of part worn tyres.

“The primary objective of this work is to keep motorists safe and ensure the products they are buying are safe to use and being sold by competent retailers, capable of providing the required standard of advice and skill.

“However, the results prove there is still a lot of work to be done before motorists in the region can be sure they are buying safe part worns and we’ll continue to work with our partners to tackle this serious risk to road safety.”