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Man ‘first jailed’ for sale of skin bleaching products

GUILTY: Mohammed Iqbal Bharodawala was sentenced for selling skin bleaching cosmetics

A SOUTH London shopkeeper has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for the illegal sale of dangerous skin whitening products today.

Mohammed Iqbal Bharodawala, a director of Jennys Cosmetics Limited, was also fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs in what is believed to be the first time a custodial sentence has been handed down for such a crime.

The sentencing is the result of a Southwark Council prosecution.

Bharodawala, 45, had been stopped by the UK Border Force in March last year. He was returning from France and had 1,431 infringing cosmetics in his possession. The products were seized by Kent Trading Standards.

He pleaded guilty to nine offences in relation to the supply of skin lightening products containing hydroquinone, a banned substance that damages the skin, can trigger a disease of the nervous system and harms the liver.

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “Southwark Council works tirelessly to protect shoppers in Southwark and beyond from irresponsible traders seeking to profit at the expense of their customer’s health.

DETERRENT: Cllr Evelyn Akoto said she hopes the sentencing will stop others from selling skin lightening products

“These results show that businesses cannot hide by selling illegal goods online and that the courts will severely punish those who repeatedly break the law.

“I fully support the judge’s decision to bestow the severest sentence in such a case, and hope that it acts as a serious deterrent to anyone thinking of dealing in dangerous skin lightening products here in future.”

In addition to the custodial sentence and fine, Bharodawala has been disqualified from acting as a company director for four years.

Bharodawala’s brother, Abdul, who ran Jennys Online Limited, was also sentenced today.

His prosecution was the result of an investigation by the council that involved purchasing the products he sold via eBay. One such item contained 17% hydroquinone.

He pleaded guilty to three offences under the cosmetic product safety regulations and was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work, pay £4,500 in costs and a fine of £500 was served to his company.

This was the second time the council had prosecuted Mohammed Iqbal Bharodawala. He was given a 12 month suspended sentence for similar offences in 2014.

Southwark Council is among the most proactive authorities enforcing the legislation on illegal skin whitening products in the UK.

Its work to tackle the supply of illegal skin lightening products is part of a project funded by National Trading Standards.

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