Warning as haul of dangerous ‘hoverboards’ seized at Scots airport

A haul of 210 dangerous “hoverboards” destined for Scotland has been seized at Glasgow Airport.

A warning has now been issued to the public over the new wheeled gadgets which are becoming a craze across the UK.

They are an evolution of the Segway scooter and are also known as “swegways” or “self-balancing scooter”.

Officials have warned that this latest gadget craze has created a market in cheaper versions that are “dangerously substandard and could result in injury, death or fire”.

Police in England have already warned people about riding the toys in public and say it is illegal to use them on public roads or pavements.

HMRC Border Control in Scotland along with Trading Standards at Renfrewshire Council recently recovered two separate shipments of the gadgets at Glasgow Airport.

A total of 210 boards bound for the Scottish market, which were seized at the airport, were found to be dangerous due to the plugs being seriously flawed.

They had no fuses and are so small that they need to be forced into and out of sockets. The pins also break very easily.

A statement from trading standards officers at Renfrewshire Council said: “The adaptors supplied with the boards are also untested and likely to be inadequate.

“All these flaws create real risks of fire, electrocution and injury. Buyers who think that changing the plug to a fused, more substantial model will make their hoverboards safe, could be making a dangerous mistake.

“The devices and their components have not been subject to any testing to prove their compliance with safety standards. A new plug will not compensate for any potential faults in the hoverboards.

“Despite being marketed as being for people who weigh as little as 20kg (three stones) these hoverboards pose a very real threat to children.”

The boards run on 36 volts when children’s toys are limited to a 24 volt supply. They also carry no safety advice recommending that riders should wear helmets or protective clothing.

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of the council’s environment policy board, said: “There’s a lot of pressure on parents at this time year to make their children’s Christmas dreams come true but these hoverboards could turn the holidays into a nightmare.

“If you’re going to buy one of these, get it from a reputable shop, be ready to pay the full price, ensure that the plug and transformer, as well as the board itself, all comply with British standards and that check it for batch numbers, serial numbers and the EC safety mark.

“If you’re buying one for a child, ensure that the motor runs on no more than 24 volts and take all precautions with protective clothing. Do not buy a hoverboard from any dubious source, online auction or listings site.”

Renfrewshire Council’s Trading Standards team is keen to identify any dangerous gadgets in the area.

Councillor Devine continued: “We want to help keep people safe. If you’ve bought or been offered a hoverboard with what looks like a dodgy plug or if you’ve seen any advertised at a bargain price, please phone Trading Standards in confidence on 0300 300 0380.

“No one need know you’ve called and you could be saving someone from severe injury. ”