A FIFTH of toys sold on online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are dangerous, an investigation has found.

Overall, 58 per cent were illegal for sale because they breached safety regulations – with 22 per cent of the total having “serious safety issues”.

 Over 20 per cent of the toys tested by The British Toy and Hobby Association were found to have 'serious safety issues'

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Over 20 per cent of the toys tested by The British Toy and Hobby Association were found to have ‘serious safety issues’Credit: Getty – Contributor

The UK’s toy trade association investigated the big online sites after concerns safety rules were being ignored – risking the reputation of legitimate brands and stores they represent.

Researchers ordered 100 of the best-selling toys from Amazon, 50 from eBay and 50 from Chinese rival Alibaba.

A total of 45 were unsafe – for example with bits of plastic that came off easily and could choke a child or were flammable.

And an additional 70 – while not obviously dangerous – were illegal because they failed to comply with the Toy Safety Directive. Issues were not being labelled, having no details or address of the maker and no safety tests.

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That meant 115 or 58 per cent were not compliant.

They found most were from unknown brands – or fake versions of popular bands – shipped direct from China.

The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), and its members, will today launch a white paper calling for action from the government to ensure unsafe toys are removed from the market.

Natasha Crookes, from the BTHA, said: “We have been testing toys on online marketplaces and finding concerning levels of illegal and unsafe toys.

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“We are concerned that unsafe and illegal products are not removed fast enough and identical products remain on sale.

“There are gaps in the UK regulations which allow the sellers and the marketplaces to not be held to account and for unsafe toys to continue to be available to UK consumers.”

In the past – before the rise of online marketplaces – sellers abroad could not sell directly to UK families. They might find some people in the UK who would buy stock to sell at car boot sales but not on the current scale, the BTHA said.

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