Man sentenced to prison after selling banned plant protection product

The company director was sentenced to prison for sales of illegal chemicals
The company director was sentenced to prison for sales of illegal chemicals

A company director has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for the online sale of plant protection products containing prohibited substances.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Warwickshire-based Abel (UK) Ltd was selling a plant protection product containing Sodium Chlorate, a prohibited substance, in 2014. The substance has been banned in the EU since 2008.

HSE also found the company was selling paint stripper containing dichloromethane (DCM), which is also restricted.

Abel was told to take down the advertisements for these products, and HSE served enforcement notices to prohibit further supply. However, the enforcement notices were ignored by the company.

Abel's director, Nicholas Corbett of Weddington Road, Nuneaton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 9 and 18 of The Plant Protection Products Regulations 2011 and Regulation 11(2) of The REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008, and was given a 10-month custodial sentence.

Speaking after the hearing at Warwick Crown Court earlier this month, HSE inspector Sarah Dutton said: “Chemicals are carefully regulated to protect human health and the environment.

“Sodium Chlorate is not approved for use in weed killers, as a safe level of use was not established for operators.

“Dichloromethane (DCM) has been restricted in paint strippers due to concerns for human health during its use – it has caused fatalities when not used properly.”

Ms Dutton added: “Companies should be aware that HSE will take robust action against those who unnecessarily put the lives of workers and the public at risk, and against those who endanger the environment, through the inappropriate supply and use of chemicals.”