COUNCILS are being urged to crack down on deadly diet pills, as websites selling unlicensed pills are being shut down at a rate of more than five a day.
Hundreds of thousands of illegal slimming pills, including highly toxic fat-burning chemical DNP – responsible for five deaths last year – have been seized in raids involving trading standards teams.
This includes 23,000 pills, worth £30,000, which were seized during a raid in Waterlooville last November.
The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is pushing for a consumer awareness campaign to warn people of buying diet pills online or from unknown suppliers.
It is also calling for tougher penalties on criminals selling the pills due to the major harm they can cause.
The maximum penalty anyone selling the pills can receive under food safety laws is just two years in prison.
Many of the pills claim to contain only natural or herbal ingredients when they actually contain banned substances which can dramatically increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and can result in coma and death.
Last year about 2,000 websites selling the pills were shut down.