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Welsh council secures £1.6m confiscation over teeth whitening products

Powys County Council has secured a £1.6m confiscation order against three family members who were prosecuted for selling unsafe teeth whitening products.

John Barry Hargreaves, Jean Hargreaves and their son Matthew Hargreaves, from Knutsford in Cheshire, were prosecuted in 2016. The two men were sentenced to 18 months in jail in September 2016 while Jean Hargreaves was jailed for six months, suspended for two years.

Powys’ Trading Standards Service last month secured a proceeds of crime order against the Hargreaves at a hearing at Caernarvon Crown Court.

This was after a financial investigation into the criminal benefit that the family had made from their illegal teeth whitening activity.

The Crown Court was told that the three defendants had made £2.5m from their criminality.

His Honour Judge Harris-Jenkins ordered Matthew Hargreaves to pay back £1,096,500 within three months. If he fails to pay, he will have to serve a seven-year prison term.

Jean Hargreaves was ordered to pay £519,940 back and John Hargreaves must pay back £995. The pair have to pay these amounts within three months or serve a five-year jail term and a three-month jail term respectively.

The judge also imposed a compliance order compelling Matthew Hargreaves to make regular updates to the council’s Legal Service as to the progression of the properties being sold.

Cllr James Evans, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards at Powys, said: “We take our responsibilities to protect consumers seriously and we were protecting the public from unsafe goods which is important.”

Clive Jones, the council’s Professional Lead for Trading Standards said: “This is a huge deterrent to criminals to stop them committing serious offences – if you do continue – we will take all your assets.”

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