Mum’s anger at Tesco over car park barrier at Stalham store

Store giant Tesco said it had “tightened up procedures” as an angry mother claimed it was putting lives at risk by ignoring her warnings about an insecure car park barrier at its Stalham store.

Karen Powley said the heavy metal boom unexpectedly fell directly in front of her car as she tried to drive out, with her young son Bradley as a passenger, back in May. She fears a repeat of an incident in January 1999 at the B&Q store at Hellesdon, when 12-year-old James Mathews died when the car park exit barrier smashed into the windscreen of his mother’s car.

Since May, Miss Powley, 28, of Allen Meale Way, Stalham, said she had contacted Tesco on about half a dozen occasions to say that the barrier needed to be padlocked so that it could not fall by accident.

But she said that, despite reassurances from the supermarket giant that action had been taken, she had discovered the barrier either without a padlock or with an unlocked padlock a number of times since; and it was unlocked again on Tuesday when she went shopping.

She said: “I don’t want to be killed by it and I don’t want anyone else to be hurt, either. Hundreds of people go in and out of that car park every day in their cars. It is not acceptable and I’m sick and tired of trying to get them to do something about it.”

A Tesco spokesman said the issue had been dealt with. She said: “A customer reported two months ago that the car park barrier had not been secured properly. This was an oversight for which we apologised.

“The car park barrier serves to lock cars out overnight, and is padlocked in an upright position first thing every morning. Staff at the store have tightened this procedure and the barrier is checked daily.”

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Miss Powley said she believed she and Bradley, six, escaped death or serious injury by inches when they drove out of the store after buying food for a Whitsun bank holiday barbecue.

“I saw it coming down out of the corner of my eye and slowed down. It landed about two feet in front of the car. If I’d been distracted by Bradley and hadn’t seen it, it could have landed on top of us,” she said.

“We were both scared, and Bradley kept talking about it afterwards, asking what would have happened if it had hit the car.”