Welwyn Garden City shop fined over ‘potentially dangerous’ goods

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:34 20 May 2013

One of the cushions bursts into flames during an ignition test

One of the cushions bursts into flames during an ignition test

Archant

UNSAFE cushions, which failed to meet fire safety regulations being sold in a WGC store, landed a firm in court.

Budget retailer Poundstretcher and one of its suppliers were fined a total of £22,000 for selling the scatter cushions at outlets in Church Road, Welwyn Garden City and another in Hertford.

Representatives of Poundstretcher Ltd and Crown Crest (Leicester) Plc, an importer and wholesaler, admitted breaches of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, when they appeared at Watford Magistrates Court on May 13.

The convitions followed an investigation by Hertfordshire Trading Standards.

The probe related to the sale of scatter cushions which failed to meet fire resistance requirements, “making them potentially dangerous when near an ignition source”.

A complaint about an alleged fire risk led to an inspection at Poundstretcher in Hertford by a fire protection officer.

Suspect cushions were tested and failed stringent regulations.

The matter was reported to Poundstretcher, yet at a later date similar cushions were test-purchased from the Welwyn Garden City branch and again failed British Standards requirements.

The cushions, imported from China and supplied to Poundstretcher by Crown Crest (Leicester) Plc, bore labels claiming compliance with safety regulations.

Poundstretcher Ltd pleaded guilty to four offences in relation to supplying cushions that did not offer fire safety protection, four in relation to labels on the cushions and two offences in relation to supplying cushions that they should have presumed were potentially dangerous.

They were fined a total of £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £583.20 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Crown Crest (Leicester) Plc pleaded guilty to four offences in relation to supplying cushions that did not offer fire safety protection, and four offences in relation to the labels.

They were given a £16,000 fine, ordered to pay costs of £583.20 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Martin Collinson, Poundstretcher’s company secretary told the WHT: “We regret this situation has arisen and clarly this was a failure of the quality of the product.”

The cushions had been withdrawn from sale and a “review of processes” was underway. Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety and planning, said: “Companies must ensure that their stock meets all the necessary requirements.

“Fire safety regulations are there for a reason, and failing to meet them could have very serious repercussions.”


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