Hoverboards seized at Dublin port amid fire fears

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More than 1,000 Back To The Future-style hoverboards have been turned away from the Republic over fears they could burst into flames.

The consignment of two-wheeled hands-free electric scooters, which are a big hit on Christmas wish-lists, was seized at Dublin Port.

The self-balancing gadgets, used by celebrities like Lily Allen and Jamie Foxx, can cost upwards of 350 euro and have already been banned in a number of cities worldwide.

While they haven’t been outlawed in Ireland, authorities grounded 1,400 so-called Smart Balance Wheels over “significant safety concerns”.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said it prevented the consignment from entering the Irish market after an investigation into “unsafe hoverboards”.

Examination of a sample of the scooters identified a number of serious safety concerns which resulted in their importation being suspended, the commission said.

Isolde Goggin, chairwoman of the commission, said it is now talking to a number of businesses as part of a further investigation into the sale and supply of hoverboards in Ireland.

“Following the examination, the commission was concerned that consumers may be at risk should the AC adapter/charger or the battery pack overheat and potentially cause a fire,” she said.

“Our investigation is ongoing but at this point we are aware that similar products are on sale and we are investigating to determine that these products meet the relevant Irish and EU safety standards.”

The Commission said it “strongly urges” anyone wishing to buy a hoverboard to make sure the manufacturer’s name or trademark is visible on the packaging and critically that it has a genuine European safety mark.

The two-wheeled self-balancing scooters are modelled on the hoverboards made famous by the character Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, in the 1980s blockbuster film Back To The Future.