Father and Son Jailed for Selling Illegal Teeth Whitening Products

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A father and son from South Wales have been jailed after selling dangerous DIY teeth whitening products.

Matthew Hargreaves and his father John were sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of supplying the public with dangerous teeth whitening products at Merthyr Crown Court. The 43 year old and his father John, 69, made £3 million from the family business, which sold DIY teeth whitening kits. John Hargreaves’ wife, Jean, was also given a six month sentence for her involvement in the operation, which has been suspended for two years.

Over the course of the last ten years, the family has been selling products that carry a major health risk to the public. The products, which contain higher than the recommended levels of hydrogen peroxide, funded a lavish way of life for the duo. Teeth whitening is a dental treatment that is only legally administered by trained dentists. All whitening products on sale in the UK are required to meet EU regulations relating to the hydrogen peroxide content. In court, prosecutors accused the pair of supplying the public with dangerous products that could cause chemical burns.

An investigation was launched by trading standards officers after the family was spotted selling the products at the Royal Welsh Show in 2013. Subsequently, they discovered that the products contained 110 times the legal hydrogen peroxide content.

In court, the pair admitted to charges of fraud and John Hargreaves also accepted a charge of unfair commercial practice. Prosecutor Mark Wyeth QC accuded the pair of putting “unwitting” members of the public at risk.

The General Dental Council is working with local authorities to clamp down on illegal whitening operations and has urged the public to report any cases of treatment being offered by non-dentists.

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