A police chief has accused a number of major retailers of being "immoral" for selling e-scooters while it remains illegal to use them on public roads. West Midlands Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Tom McNeil has written to a number of High Street shops to urge them to stop selling the vehicles.
A blanket ban on e-scooters was lifted in July 2020 to allow for trials of various share schemes. However, the use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal.
The Birmingham Mail reports that in his letter to retailers, McNeil concedes the legislation around the sale and use of private e-scooters is “a mess,” but adds: “However, whilst we wait for the Government to catch up and regulate their use, I urge you, as a responsible retailer, to stop selling e-scooters."
The letter has been sent to Halfords, Argos, Smyths Toys, Currys Pure Electric, Aosom, Robert Dyas, Scooter Hub, Appliances Direct and Drones Direct.
"It is crystal clear that many members of the public, who are buying private e-scooters, are unaware of these restrictions,” he wrote.
"Given this fact, it astonishes me that retailers are continuing to take money off hard-working people in the West Midlands in exchange for a product that is illegal to use and could land them in trouble with the police.
"Retailers are also profiting from the confusion, by selling private e-scooters to young people who have little disposal income. This is simply immoral and must stop."
McNeil said he was moved to send the letter in the belief that, “shops are turning a blind eye and happily taking people’s hard earned cash.”
A spokesperson said: "Retailers should fully explain the current law regarding the private use of e-scooters to avoid confusion. This is why Halfords makes clear at every stage of the in-store and online sales processes where e-scooters can and cannot be used.
"This includes prominent signage next to e-scooters in shops and headers on all product detail pages outlining the law, as well as clear legal statements on price tickets and any company blogs about them.”
An Argos spokesperson said: “We are a responsible retailer; we provide clear and visible information about the use of e-scooters to ensure our customers understand the legal restrictions.
"This includes a prominent warning against the illegal use of e-scooters and hover boards on our product pages both online and on our mobile app.”