Poole man sentenced over 'lethal' fake car airbags

  • Published
Robert Czernik and his wife
Image caption,
Robert Czernik, pictured with his wife outside court, was given a suspended sentence

A man who sold "dangerous" counterfeit car airbags has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Police said cheap airbags sold online by Robert Czernik failed safety tests, putting peoples' lives at risk.

The 36-year-old, of Poole, Dorset, received a five-month sentence, suspended for a year, after admitting two charges of selling fake goods.

A judge at Inner London Crown Court also ordered him to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work.

Image source, City of London Police
Image caption,
Vehicle parts bearing the names of Vauxhall and Volkswagen were among those sold by Czernik

Czernik was arrested in February 2016 after the motor manufacturer Honda reported that fake airbags, bearing its brand-name, were being sold on eBay.

In tests, the firm found they might not have activated correctly in a crash.

City of London Police raided Czernik's home in Blackbird Close, Poole, seizing airbags and airbag components purportedly made by various major brands.

'Highly dangerous'

The force alerted 680 customers, including businesses and individuals, who had bought items from Czernik's accounts.

The airbags had been on sale since September 2013 for about £170, half the price of a genuine airbag.

Stephen Rowland from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This defendant was selling highly dangerous items online using brand names customers felt they could trust.

"Czernik claimed that he thought the items he was selling were genuine, but evidence put forward by the CPS showed that he had been buying the items from online selling sites in China."

Det Sgt Kevin Ives said: "Czernik has put drivers at risk of serious injury and death by selling counterfeit airbags and covers."

A confiscation hearing will take place at a later date.

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