DANGEROUS tumble dryers prone to exploding into flames need recalling urgently to avoid people "playing Russian roulette" as new figures reveal firefighters are attending three fires a day caused by the appliances.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 48 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, is calling on leading manufacturers to recall faulty tumble dryers which have been linked to thousands of fires caused by excess fluff contacting heating elements.
Government statistics show there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires between 2012 and 2014 – equating to three a day.
Homes have been ruined and in some cases, the machines have burst into flames as people loaded them with clothes. An inquest has opened into the deaths of two men who died after a tumble dryer caught fire.
The LGA is warning that companies who are running lengthy repair programmes for potentially dangerous machines, instead of recalling them, are risking the lives of millions of customers.
It is calling on manufacturers to recall affected tumble dryers and for all white goods to have fire-proof markings on them, including the manufacturer, model and serial number, so they can be identified more easily if they are damaged after causing a fire.
Report highlights rise in illicit tobacco sales
A RECENTLY released report by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has highlighted the rise in the illicit tobacco trade.
Operation Henry 2 was a coordinated enforcement campaign by Trading Standards Services to tackle the local supply of illicit tobacco products across England, including London, and was the second largest of its kind.
Delivered between December 2015 and April 2016 illicit tobacco products worth almost £1m were seized during the operation. This was 18 per cent higher than the first operation, carried out by trading standards in 2014.
In London 13 boroughs received funding to take part with the following results;
Over nine days 51 retail premises were visited; 57% of these were found to be selling illicit tobacco; 80,360 cigarettes were seized along with over a quarter of a tonne of hand rolling tobacco; over half of the premises found with illicit stock were repeat offenders
The biggest haul was found in Westminster where some 28,000 cigarettes were found in one premises along with £80,000 cash.
Across England, trading standards officers confiscated around 2.9 million cigarettes and 1,272kg of illicit hand-rolling tobacco – an additional 205,591 sticks and 547.22 kg of illicit hand rolling tobacco compared with Operation Henry 1.
The stark warning comes as they release new London figures showing that a comparison between 2014/15 and 2015/16 highlighted a 25 per cent increase in smoking related fires and a 55 per cent increase in the number of people who died in those fires.
Smoking continues to be the largest cause of fatal fires and the third largest cause of accidental fires in the home.
Around four fires a day are linked to smoking, with around three people a week being injured. In London alone, on average at least one person every month is killed by a smoking related fire.
The Brigade’s figures show that in London:
Last year there were 1359 smoking related fires, with 134 people being injured and 17 people killed by fire.
Ten people have been killed by fire in the capital so far this year as a result of the unsafe handling or careless disposal of smoking materials.
Almost a quarter of all smoking related fires in the home start in the bedroom, making it the most likely place for a smoking fire to start in the home.
Three per cent of smoking related fires start in the toilet or bathroom.
Four times as many people smoke as they do vape(opens in a new window), but there are 255 times more smoking related fires, meaning vaping is a far safer option in terms of preventing fires.
Dave Brown, the London Fire Brigade’s Director of Operations, said: “In the past we’ve shied away from telling people not to smoke, but the statistics speak for themselves so we’re joining health bosses in urging people to quit. The health impact of smoking is well documented, but many people don’t realise that smoking is the largest cause of fatal fires.
“Amongst the biggest mistakes people make is falling asleep with lit cigarettes, or they fail to dispose of cigarettes or matches properly, which can smoulder and cause fires.
“Ten people have died in fires in London caused by unsafe smoking this year, but you can easily take simple steps to ensure you don’t become another fire death statistic.”
Tesco customers in card fraud fears
THOUSANDS of Tesco Bank customers fromright across the country have had their cards blocked due to fears they have been targeted by fraudsters.
The move comes after customers complained hundreds of pounds had been taken from their account.
The bank said affected account holders will still be able pay for things via chip and pin and access services online, and the money lost will be refunded.
In a statement, Tesco Bank said: "Yesterday our fraud prevention systems identified suspicious activity on a number of accounts.
"As a precautionary measure we have blocked some customer cards and have contacted affected customers via text message to notify them.
"We are sorry for the inconvenience we know this causes, however we want to do everything we can to protect our customers from fraud.
"If you think you have been the victim of fraud, please contact us immediately."
Tesco Bank, which opened in 1997 and has been wholly owned by Tesco PLC since 2008, has around 7.8 million customer accounts.
TELECOMS giant TalkTalk has been issued a record £400,000 fine by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), after poor data security resulted in over 156,000 customers’ details being stolen from the company in a hack.
The ICO’s investigation found that the attack on the company in October 2015 could have been avoided had the telecoms company taken “basic steps” to protect customers’ information.
As a result of TalkTalk’s security failings, hackers accessed names, addresses, dates of birth, and contact details for 156,959 people. Worse still, in about 10% of cases bank details were also stolen.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says: “TalkTalk’s failure to implement the most basic cyber security measures allowed hackers to penetrate TalkTalk’s systems with ease.
“Yes hacking is wrong, but that is not an excuse for companies to abdicate their security obligations. TalkTalk should and could have done more to safeguard its customer information. It did not and we have taken action.”
Beware bogus court appearance summons
FRAUDSTERS are sending out a wave of scam emails purporting to be from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that claim you have to appear in court.
The CPS have received several reports from concerned members of the public who have received the email entitled “You’ve been witness summoned to court”.
The email entices people to click on a link to view their start time/case details. This link is likely to lead to malware.
This email has no connection to the CPS and anyone receiving the email should not download any attachments or click any links and report it to us.
The CPS is aware and has said that they “never email witnesses in order to summons them to court”.
In August 2016, there were a total of 14,883 phishing reports submitted to us, which is an increase of nearly 135% compared to August 2015. Follow our advice to avoid falling victim.
To report a fraud and cyber crime and receive a police crime reference number, call us on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.
Be alert hunting for online bargains
BARGAIN hunters could be unwittingly handing over their personal details to criminal gangs if they sign up for online discount vouchers.
Police have warned shoppers about a spate of fraudulent vouchers which have been circulating on Facebook. It comes after Aldi issued their own warning about vouchers offering 40% off at their stories, which turned out to be false.
Members of the public could be unknowingly giving their personal details to criminal gangs when they sign up to websites offering the bargains.
Now police have urged social media users to be vigilant at
all times when using devices that can store personal information.
A spokesman said: “The public needs to be on guard against vouchers appearing on their social media newsfeeds claiming to offer incredible savings.
“Criminals are constantly devising more complex and devious methods to unlawfully take your information and your savings – which is why fraudulent offers can often appear official, however if an offer looks too good to be true, it more than likely is."
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