Suspended jail sentence for selling counterfeit ‘Wonka Bar’ sends a strong message

A business owner from Huddersfield has appeared at Barnsley Magistrates Court on Tuesday 26 April and has been sentenced, having earlier pleaded guilty for selling counterfeit products with incorrect labelling and allergy advice.

Nathan Bennett, 33, of Leeds Road, Huddersfield, has been sentenced to 16 weeks of imprisonment (suspended for 12 months), 10 days of rehabilitation activity, 100 hours of unpaid community work and to cover total costs of £3,723.01 and £128 of victim surcharge.

Bennett traded as Kandy Fix in the Alhambra Shopping Centre, Barnsley, between August and December 2021 and pleaded guilty at Barnsley Magistrates Court on Monday 4 April 2022 to Food Safety, Labelling and Trademarks charges.

In August 2021, following a complaint from a member of the public, a Trading Standards Officer visited the premises and got a sample of what appeared to be a counterfeit Wonka Bar.

The court heard that cheap supermarket chocolate had been rewrapped by Bennett at his home in Huddersfield using labels that had been printed for him prior to being sold in Barnsley. The information on the Wonka Bar labels related to a bar that has been out of production for at least five years. The ingredients list did not highlight some allergens as regulations require and completely omitted the inclusion of hazelnut as an ingredient.

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

Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, said: “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.

“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.”

Tina Potter, Food Standards Agency Head of Incidents, said: “Bennett’s offences could have had very serious consequences for anyone with a nut allergy, so we are grateful to Barnsley MBC 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.”

If members of the public see Wonka Bars on sale in Barnsley, they are advised to report them by emailing regulatoryservices@barnsley.gov.uk or calling (01226) 773743.

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