DANGEROUS second-hand tyres are putting motorists’ lives at risk - with Durham County Council finding one such tyre stocked to be 23 years old.

As many as 83 per cent of used tyres in some areas are sold illegally, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

Part-worn tyres are sold with serious safety defects, unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling, according to council Trading Standards teams.

Durham County Council officers found only one out of 39 (2.6 per cent) tyres stocked at various dealers bore the required “part-worn” tyre marking.

They further found 25 tyres had problems that could impair safety.

Ten tyres had unsafe repairs, nine were over 10 years old and one turned out to be 23 years old.

While many claimed to always check tyres before they are sold, the level of knowledge as to what is a legal part worn tyre varied greatly, officers found.

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “I am concerned however at the apparent lack of knowledge of some traders who are dealing in part worn tyres as any non-compliance could have significant consequences.

“With the advent of cheaper budget tyres on the market our advice would always be that new tyres are a better option for guaranteeing that tyres conform to road safety standards.”

The LGA is urging motorists buying second-hand tyres to check that they bear the required “part-worn” marking, which lets drivers know that the tyre has been checked and meets legal requirements.

There were 16 people killed and 908 road casualties - more than two a day - in reported accidents in the UK in 2015 where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor, according to Government figures.

Figures suggest that around 4.5 million part-worn tyres are being sold in the UK every year.

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “The prevalence of dangerous used tyres for sale at some businesses is alarming and irresponsible traders have got questions to answer because they are putting lives at serious risk.

“Motorists buying used tyres should go to a reputable trader and check they have ‘part-worn’ stamped on them as without this mark, they are unlikely to have been checked and the retailer is breaking the law.”

For information on the regulations visit www.partworn-tyres.co.uk