More than 1,200 potentially lethal hot water bottles have been seized by Kent County Council Trading Standards officers and later destroyed after arriving on a lorry through the Port of Dover.

Officers say details on the packaging of the bottles – designed as a furry dog and clearly intended for use by children - were obvious signs that the items were likely to be unsafe.

They included claims of a 16-litre capacity (up to 10 times the capacity of the average electric kettle), a 60-minute timer, and three cooking functions.

An electrical safety expert called in by KCC Trading Standards examined the hot water bottles and found numerous faults.

These included:

  • Mains electricity is passed through the water in the bottle to heat it up

  • Any leaking water would be “live” and could lead to electrocution.

  • Insufficient insulation to protect the user from electric shock.

  • Cable used is not adequate in size or capacity for the load.

  • Incorrect connecting devices are used.

  • A risk that the water could boil in the bag which would then either burst or leak out.

Officers added that they are CE marked but should not be and that the instructions are inadequate.

KCC Trading Standards manager Mark Rolfe said the 1,250 hot water bottles were taken from a lorry after they were presented at Dover for clearance into the EU.

They originated from China and carried a delivery address in Hamburg, but we can’t say with any certainty where they would have ended up.

Mark Rolfe, Trading Standards