December 13, 2009 19:00 ET

Faulty Fairy Lights Could Be Festive Fire Hazard

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2009) - Bah humbug homeowners are to blame for many a Christmas calamity as dodgy decorations and archaic fairy lights could ruin yuletide festivities, warns Swinton.

Swinton claims people's choice of cheap fairy lights is one of the reasons why they see home insurance claims rise over the Christmas period.

As Christmas trees start to go up in homes around the UK this week, Swinton is warning homeowners to steer clear of rogue traders flooding the market with cheap, imported fairy lights, which are being sold without safety certification marks. These dodgy decorations, teamed with people's keenness to dust off and reuse their old lights can create fire hazards over the Christmas period.

This year the European Commission tested 200 sets of lights and found just over 30% of the samples from the five countries at serious risk of starting a fire or causing electric shocks - or both.

Steve Chelton, insurer development manager at Swinton said: "Faulty fairy lights can cause electrical fires especially when plug sockets are overloaded. Children or pets knocking down Christmas trees and candles setting fire to table decorations are among the most common accidents during Christmas holidays."

"Always choose fairy lights that have been tested and deemed safe by a reputable safety certification mark and inspect them carefully - new and old - for damage."

About Swinton

- With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer

- Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community

- Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance

- With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates and provide you with the best home insurance quotes

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