A herbal cigarette company with a factory in Ipswich has been fined £36,000 for using machinery which could cause “terrible injury” in the manufacturing process.

Honeyrose Products Ltd used a machine to mix and flavour the herbs of its cigarettes.

But a health and safety inspector found there were exposed blades and a motor which could have a “mangling effect” if someone fell into the contraption.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the machine was also fed by a conveyor belt and pulley system which would result in “loss of fingers as a minimum” had someone been drawn in by accident.

No one has fallen in but the possible danger was enough for the company, which has stores across the UK, to be fined £36,000 and ordered to pay £12,583 in costs – with six months given to gather the money.

Ipswich Star: Ipswich Crown CourtIpswich Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Defence barrister Stan Reiz KC asked for three years to be given to pay the sums as he said the company has no money, but this request was rejected by Recorder Dijen Basu KC.

The court heard there are six employees at the Ipswich branch in the Alpha Business Park.  

Mr Basu said the company had a “poor health and safety record” and that in 2015 the site had been inspected and a prohibition notice had been issued for the same machine.

But he added the necessary safety measures had been taken after Health and Safety Executive took action over the machine in 2022.

The operator of the machine, who was the only employee that used it, had not received any health and safety training, the court heard.

Mr Reiz had argued in mitigation that the blades were covered in rubber and took 3.2 seconds to do one revolution – however, Mr Basu said there was still a danger of entrapment and serious injury.

Guilty pleas had previously been entered for the charges of breaching the provisions and use of work equipment regulations and failing to discharge a duty.