Poundworld has been fined more than £70,000 for selling 'high vis' jackets which carried the logo 'be safe, be seen' despite not being reflective.
The discount retailer - which has branches in Preston and Southport - sold 95,700 of the Chinese-made £1 vests but tests carried out on one of the jackets revealed its 'reflectivity' was no more than 2.4 per cent of what it should have been, according to a report from the Mail Online today.
And the product, which was withdrawn from sale, prompted a national recall on all jackets.
At St Albans Crown Court, prosecutor Andrew Johnson said that Joe Tyler, from Hertfordshire Trading Standards, made a test purchase from Poundworld on Watford High Street in March last year.
He said: 'Whilst the produce purported to be a high visibility safety vest, it was in fact no such thing. It was little more than an item of clothing.
'Neither the fluorescent yellow background material or the retro-reflective strips were of a standard anywhere near that which was necessary to ensure the visibility of the user.'
In a written response to Trading Standards' questions, Poundworld said the vest that was tested was part of a batch of 7,200, but over a period beginning in January 2010 it had imported and sold 95,700.
The company, which has its HQ in Normanton, West Yorkshire, appeared for sentence on Friday, having pleaded guilty to two offences of engaging in misleading commercial practice at an earlier hearing.
Stan Reiz, defending, said the Chinese manufacturers had provided test certificates that were misleading to Poundworld . He said there had been no complaints or safety incidents reported.
But he said: "The company admits it fell short of due diligence. It has now changed its policies and has increased its UK test centres."
Judge John Plumstead fined Poundworld £15,000 and ordered it to pay £42,395.10 in an agreed confiscation order as well as £6,123.16 prosecution costs.
He said: "People would have gone out of the shop believing they had improved the safety of their children or themselves when out after dark on foot or on a bicycle.
"The Chinese-made vests, which were sold for £1, carried the logo 'be safe, be seen' but its 'reflectivity' was no more than 2.4 per cent of what it should have been
"The fine demonstrates the court's disapproval of those who put on the market safety aids that are not safety aids at all."
The jacket was withdrawn from sale on June 5 2014 and the national recall took place in January this year.