Stab vests ditched after court case

TOWN chiefs have ditched a number of dodgy stab vests bought from an Ipswich store busted by trading standards, it emerged today.

TOWN chiefs have ditched a number of dodgy stab vests bought from an Ipswich store busted by trading standards, it emerged today.

Specialist supplies company Kombat UK, which has a store in Norwich Road, put thousands of people in danger by selling them unsafe stab vests.

The firm is more than £20,000 out of pocket after being found to be selling converted ex-German army shrapnel vests and advertising them as stab vests.

Today it emerged that Ipswich Borough Council no longer uses ten stab vests purchased from the store two years ago to protect parking attendants at a cost of £54.64 each excluding VAT.

A spokesman for the council declined to reveal when the authority ceased to use the vests, purchased in 2006.

He said: “None of our vests are supplied by Kombat UK and we cannot comment further on security issues.”

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The ten vests bought by Ipswich Borough Council were among around 3,000 vests sold in a three-year period by the firm, the vast majority through the internet.

Kombat UK pleaded guilty to 13 charges at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court.

The vests were described by the company as “stab proof”, “British approved” and “licenced” - none of which were true.

None of them reached the KR1 standard, a safety level used to test police stab vests for knife resistance.

Magistrates heard that In December 2007, two stab vests were bought by Trading Standards from the company's website and submitted to the Home Office Scientific Development Branch for testing.

Both stab vests failed dramatically against the requirements of the KR1 standard with test blades penetrating the stab vests by in excess of 40mm. Only 7mm is allowed by the standard.

Joanna Spicer, the Suffolk County Councillor responsible for public protection, said: “Many people, including nightclub bouncers, have purchased these vests in order to protect themselves while at work only to find out that they have wasted their money on something which is useless.

“Thanks to the work of Suffolk Trading Standards these items are now off the streets and unable to put anyone else at risk.”

Anyone who thinks they may have purchased an unsuitable stab vest from Kombat UK should contact the company directly on 01379 873555.

Have you bought a stab vest from Kombat UK? Did you put yourself in danger while wearing one? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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