Households are being urged not to buy cheap electrical extension leads after a London Fire Brigade investigation into two different types of leads bought from a store in Southwark found numerous defects in them including no earth protection.
The investigation was prompted by a fire at a flat on the Old Kent Road on January 10 after a cable being used with an electric heater overheated resulting in a small fire.
Although the residents were unharmed, the Brigade investigate the quality of the Astra Slimline 13 AMP 4 way extension lead and concluded there were numerous defects including no earth protection whatsoever, no fuse in the plug, inadequate and poorly insulated cable and inadequate plug construction.
A study of a second make of lead, the Golden Anchor 4 way extension lead, revealed flaws in that too.
Southwark Council’s executive member for community safety, Cllr Linda Manchester, said the consequences could be horrifying: “With the cold weather forcing many people to leave heaters plugged in overnight, the consequences of using a dangerous extension lead are terrifyingly obvious.
“Two seizures by our officers so close together have highlighted the fact that there are more of these leads out there and everyone who has a set is in very real danger. It also highlights how important it is for members of the public to report any incident involving unsafe goods. Anyone who has bought one should stop using it and return it to the store or contact our Trading Standards Team.”
Borough Commander Andy Snazell from the LFB said: “Following the small fire on Jan 10, we have confirmed that these products pose a very serious risk to any one using them. The priority now is to ensure that they are all identified and either returned or handed back to trading standards.”
The Astra Slimline four way extension leads are white and come with a built in voltmeter. They are sold in a clear rigid plastic packaging. They have no fuse fitted and no earth connections. The Golden Anchor product is white with a black base and came packaged in blue and yellow boxes.
Southwark Council say the cables concerned lack a manufacturer’s address and the statutory ‘CE’ mark (Conformity European) which means that the manufacturer or the importer declares that the product is safe and meets the requirements of relevant safety regulations.