A BUSINESS owner who sold potentially dangerous counterfeit chocolate bars in the Alhambra Shopping Centre last summer has been ordered to pay costs totalling more than £3,000 and received a suspended prison sentence.

Nathan Bennett, 33, of Leeds Road in Huddersfield, had previously pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit products with incorrect labelling and allergy advice.

He traded as Kandy Fix in the Alhambra between August and December, and pleaded guilty at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on April 4 to food safety, labelling and trademark charges.

Last August, a Trading Standards officer visited his premises and got a sample of what appeared to be a counterfeit Wonka chocolate bar following a complaint made by a member of the public.

Whilst on trial on Tuesday, the court was told that ‘cheap supermarket chocolate’ had been rewrapped by Bennett in his Huddersfield home that had been printed for him prior to being sold in the town centre.

In Text Promo Image

The information on the labels related to a bar that had been out of production for at least five years.

The ingredients on the wrapper did not highlight some allergens and completely omitted the inclusion of hazelnut as an ingredient - a potentially dangerous decision.

Analysis followed which showed that just one or two squares of the chocolate bar contained enough hazelnut to trigger a ‘serious allergic reaction’, such as swelling to the airway.

The council are encouraging residents who see Wonka bars being sold in shops to contact them by emailing regulatoryservices@barnsley.gov.uk or calling 773743.

Tina Potter, the head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency, said: “Bennett’s offences could have had very serious consequences for anyone with a nut allergy, so we are grateful to Barnsley Council for their work in securing this conviction.

“We encourage the public to check our website for advice on how to spot a counterfeit Wonka Bar and to report any suspect products to their local authority for investigation.”

Bennett was sentences to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, ten days of rehabilitation activity, 100 hours of unpaid community work and to cover total costs of £3,723.01 and £128 of victim surcharge.

Julia Burrows, the town’s director of public health, admits she is happy with the ‘strong message’ the sentence sends.

“Inaccurate food labelling is dangerous and poses a serious risk if a consumer has an allergy to one of the ingredients not listed on the label,” she added.

“Mr Bennett has been selling counterfeit products with incorrect labelling and allergy advice, and by doing so, putting his customers’ safety at risk.

“This sentence sends a strong and clear message of the consequences for disregarding public safety.”