Gift safely - warning to Norfolk shoppers

22 November 2021

With more than half of adults in the East of England considering gifting electrical goods this Christmas, Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service and Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards team have issued a joint warning to be careful where you buy from.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “Unfortunately, buying from online marketplaces means that you can’t always be sure who you are buying from and whether products meet safety standards. Products being sold cheaply could also turn out to be counterfeit, so if it seems too good to be true, it may well be and you may be left with a sub-standard product.”

Buying from trusted sellers means:

  • Products comply with safety standards, reducing the risk of fire
  • Appliances can be registered with manufacturers, so you can be notified if there is a product recall (

Electrical Fire Safety Week (22-28 November) has a campaign focus on encouraging people to buy electrical items from reputable retailers.

Nearly a quarter [1] (23%) of adults in the East of England said they would knowingly buy a counterfeit electrical item. However, counterfeit electrical products are likely to contain sub-standard parts that present a serious risk of electrical fire or shock – and it can be impossible to tell just by looking at the product.

The most popular* electrical choices to gift include:

  • Electrical beauty products (e.g. hair straighteners, beard trimmers etc.) – 33%
  • Games consoles and accessories – 30%
  • Smart technology – 30%
  • Mobile devices (e.g. tablets, laptops etc.) – 30%
  • Small cooking appliances (e.g. Nutribullets, slow cookers etc.) – 25%
  • Luxury household items (TVs, audio equipment etc.) – 17%
  • Electric bike or scooter – 10%
  • White goods – 10%

So far this year, 26 Norfolk house fires have been caused by a fault in electrical equipment/appliances, with a further 21 caused by appliances being misused. A further 36 fires were caused by faulty leads/cables to electrical appliances. These fires involved appliances including televisions, toasters, computers, microwaves, portable heaters and battery chargers, as well as larger items such as washing machines, tumble dryers and cookers.

Greg Preston, Head of Fire Prevention at Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, said: “By buying cheap, inferior quality products, people are unwittingly putting their life at risk. These items are more likely to contain unsafe parts and cause accidental fires in the home.”

“We also ask that residents don’t charge mobile phones or tablets on beds or sofas, or leave them charging overnight. And that plug sockets in the home are not overloaded.”
Duncan Carter, Lead Trading Standards Officer at NCC, said: “We want Norfolk residents to be as safe as possible, particularly as Black Friday approaches and there are many tempting deals. Electrical items that are poorly manufactured and don’t meet safety standards are sadly still available to purchase. Please only buy from reputable retailers and ensure you register your appliances to be notified of recalls.”

[1] Figures from YouGov Plc, via Electrical Safety First.

*Research carried out by Censuswide between 28th October and 1st November 2021. Survey of 3,000 nationally representative consumers (aged 16+).

The national Electrical Fire Safety Week campaign is supported by Electrical Safety First and forms part of the Home Office's ongoing Fire Kills campaign.

Latest News

Was this webpage helpful?