An internet trader from Dursley appeared before Gloucester Magistrates after making claims that her herbal remedies were a treatment for cancer.

Donna Sims, of Hill Court, trading as Herbal High Magick, was prosecuted by Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards Service after she failed to remove illegal cancer claims from her trading pages on ebay.

The court heard that Miss Sims made extensive claims about a range of herbal remedies from treatment of minor ailments right through to life threatening diseases such as AIDS and cancer.

The products included “wild crafted mistletoe herb”; “gourmet kiwi fruit jam”; and “Pau d’Arco herb”.

Advice was also offered in statements made about the benefits of taking dandelion, barley grass powder and cocoa butter.

Claims made included: “it is believed that this product may actually destroy certain kinds of cancer cells”; “used to treat cancer”; “the fibre helps to combat cancer”, and “generally used to fight cancer”.

Miss Sims was warned by Trading Standards officers that such claims can only be made for licensed medicines, and that claiming that an unlicensed product can treat cancer is in breach of the Cancer Act.

In spite of this warning the illegal claims continued to be advertised over an eight-month period.

Magistrates handed out a two-year conditional discharge to Miss Sims for offences committed under the Cancer Act.

She was also ordered to pay £1,100 in costs.

Eddie Coventry, Gloucestershire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “Cancer is a very emotive subject and it is a serious matter for anyone other than a medical professional to claim they have a treatment for the disease.

“Miss Sims was given every opportunity to remove these claims but failed to do so.

“This service is committed to ensuring that people in the county are not exploited in this way, particularly at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

We would advise consumers to be very careful of any medical claims being made over the internet and check carefully how true these are before making a purchase.

“We would warn any traders involved in selling herbs to ensure they check how all their products are described to people.”