Budget store Poundworld has been ordered to pay £63,000 in fines and court costs for selling hi-viz safety jackets that failed visibility tests.
The prosecution comes following an investigation by Herts County Council’s Trading Standards team.
In March last year officials purchased an Edwards Tools and Accessories Hi-Viz Safety Vest for £1 from Poundworld in Watford. The firm also has a store in Hemel Hempstead’s town centre.
The vest was tested to measure its visibility in low-light conditions and the results were described as ‘amongst the worst ever recorded’.
It failed visibility tests both in light and dark conditions, which led Poundworld to withdraw the product from its stores.
At St Albans Crown Court on Friday, November 20, Poundworld Retail Limited was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £42,395.10 in an agreed confiscation order, along with £6,123.16 in prosecution costs.
Councillor Richard Thake, who oversees community safety, said: “The public have purchased over 95,000 of these seemingly bargain vests with a false sense of security, no doubt trusting the descriptions on the packaging, that they would be safe and seen, when they would have been nothing of the sort.
“This case should act as a warning to all businesses that fail to complete adequate safety checks.”
In mitigation it was accepted that Poundworld had dealt with the matter swiftly, by withdrawing stocks from sale immediately, and following it up with a national recall.
The court heard that the company takes compliance seriously, had been co-operative throughout, and had worked with their local trading standards home authority. It had a thorough complaints procedure and had changed policies, now using UK test centres to provide reliable reports.