Poundland fined £4,000 after Lowestoft shopper injured
PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 November 2010
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A national retail chain has been fined £4,000 after a shopper in Lowestoft was injured by a faulty product.
A customer suffered minor injuries after a fishing catapult bought from the town’s Poundland store broke while he was testing it at home.
A subsequent investigation by Norfolk trading standards resulted in a nationwide removal of the product from the company’s stores.
Poundland was fined £2,000 each for two charges of producing an item put on sale which was not safe at Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday. It was also ordered to pay £878.63 in costs. The firm had pleaded guilty to both offences.
Andy McArdle, prosecuting, said that on April 1 customer Trevor Horne bought a fishing catapult from the Lowestoft store. When testing the item at home, it broke and he suffered a minor injury. He reported the incident to Norfolk trading standards, which bought another catapult from Poundland on April 13 and sent if off to an independent laboratory.
Mr McArdle said: “Their findings were there was a moderate to significant risk of the reels holding the elastic to the arms detaching and causing injury. The package also contained no instructions.”
He added that Poundland could not provide a certificate to prove the item’s safety. The firm claimed to have sold more than 61,000 of the catapults nationwide and only 64 had been returned, but held no records on the reasons behind the returns. Its remaining 600 catapults were withdrawn from stores.
Rebecca Wastall, in mitigation, said Poundland had imported the catapults from a supplier in Hong Kong.
“Nothing from this company in Hong Kong has failed previous testing and because of this relationship things have wrongly been assumed to be fine in this case,” she said. “Testing should be done in this country when products arrive and Poundland concedes that its due diligence in its testing procedures were not up to scratch with this particular product.”
She added that Poundland had sent the catapult off to another independent laboratory which had only deemed the product ‘unsatisfactory’ because it lacked instructions.