A MOTHER and her two children were horrified when they discovered a dead bug in a toy bought from a Basingstoke shop. 

Helen Harris bought two packs of 48 loom bands for her sons, reduced to £1, from The Entertainer in Festival Place on Wednesday, March 16. 

But when she returned to her home in Brighton Hill, she was shocked when her eight-year-old son Liam came to her in tears, and showed her what appeared to be a dead beetle inside one of the packets. 

The 36-year-old said: “I was horrified because I didn’t expect to find it in there. I focused on trying to calm him down. He was so upset and shocked to find it in there. We were horrified.”

She added: “I had to spend the following few hours trying to calm both my children down as they were so traumatised by this.”

Mrs Harris phoned up The Entertainer, and agreed to take the bug into the store the following day to show staff. 

She said: “The member of staff I spoke to didn’t seem to know what to do. She didn’t know what the process was and said she would have to speak to her manager and they would escalate it. That’s how I left it. I think they were also shocked.”

She was offered a refund or replacement, but declined, adding: “It was about raising awareness of the fact that this happened. I wasn’t bothered about a replacement or refund.”

The mother-of-two decided to email head office, in the hope of having the other packets of loom bands removed from the shelves. 
She said: “They were trying to fob me off and blame it on the supplier. They wouldn’t accept that it was down to them.

"I kept querying that they are willing to sell these assuming that it’s a good quality product but they can’t guarantee it. I wanted to get the packets that were still on sale removed because they couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t happen again, but they said they couldn’t do that.”

The company did send Mrs Harris a free toy for each of her boys as a gesture of goodwill, but the mother said her aim is to prevent another family from experiencing the same. 

She said: “My biggest thing is raising awareness of it. This was some sort of beetle but it must have come from abroad and had it been something dangerous or poisonous it would be a completely different story. 

"Normally you would expect a safety recall.”

A statement from The Entertainer said: “We have been made aware of a consumer complaint regarding a dead beetle that was found in a pack of loom bands, purchased in The Entertainer store in Basingstoke. This would have happened during the manufacturing process in Asia and is now being addressed with our supplier RMS International. 

"We have been in contact with the customer, apologised to her and given toys to her children as a form of compensation.”