Amazon fined over €70,000 for attempting to send dangerous goods by air

Some of the goods ' potentially cause burns, explosion or a fire'

Amazon, Vertium, office block, Dublin, rental, online retailer

A view of an Amazon sign at the fulfillment centre in Hertfordshire, UK | Image: Nick Ansell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Amazon has been fined £65,000 (€72,725) for trying to ship dangerous goods by air, including lithium ion batteries and flammable aerosols.

The online retail giant was sentenced after being found guilty of four aviation regulation charges in the UK earlier this week.

Items involved included lithium ion batteries - the kind that can be used as spares for mobile phones and tablets - and flammable aerosols.

Martin Goudie, prosecuting, told the court: "Under the right circumstances the batteries, even new, undamaged batteries, could overheat, potentially causing burns, explosion or a fire."

Judge Michael Grieve said there were "few and comparatively minor contraventions".

He said the jury verdict reflected "findings of systemic failure, albeit as a result of human error".

The judge added that he had to take into account the "massive resources of the company". 

Charges covered four shipments between January 2014 and June 2015.

Amazon was cleared of one other charge while a jury failed to reach a verdict on six others.

The items were discovered when cargoes were screened by a mail company ahead of their intended departures and seized before they could reach the aircraft.

Amazon UK Services was prosecuted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for breaching aviation regulations.

The court heard Amazon tried to ship a lithium ion battery to Jersey on a day before January 7th 2014, and a flammable gas aerosol to Romania on a similar date.

Another shipment, destined for Ireland on a day before July 17th that year, contained another aerosol, while Amazon illegally tried to send two more lithium ion batteries to Northern Ireland between May 12th and June 3rd last year.

Amazon said in a statement after the guilty verdict that safety was an "absolute priority" and that it was confident the processes it had developed to detect potential shipping hazards, and would continue to work with the CAA.