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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Herne Bay baker Colin Marsh accused of fraud after Tesco in Whitstable sells him iPad made of clay

14 November 2013
by Joe Walker

An iPad bought at Tesco turned out to be a slab of clay

An iPad bought at Tesco turned out to be a slab of clay

A distraught dad was bundled into a police cell and accused of fraud – after an iPad he bought from Tesco turned out to be a lump of clay.

Herne Bay baker Colin Marsh forked out £470 for the tablet at the store in Whitstable as a present for his 10-year-old daughter Maddie.

But when she opened the box, it was filled with clay and there was no iPad in sight.

A furious Mr Marsh demanded a refund from store bosses, but instead found himself arrested on suspicion of fraud.

He was held in a cell for three hours, questioned by police and endured two months on bail before the case against him was dropped.

The father-of-two, who owns Dunn's bakeries in Herne Bay and Tankerton, has now demanded an apology from the supermarket giant.

The 47-year-old - who lives in St Swithins Road, Whitstable, with wife Sam and their daughters Maddie and eight-year-old Daisy - said: "I couldn't believe it when I saw what was inside the box. Maddie was devastated.

"I took it back to Tesco, but they said they couldn't give me a refund and would need to carry out an investigation.

"Two days later, I got a call at about 8pm from the police asking if I could come down to the station to answer some questions.

"I just thought they wanted to know what had happened, but the next thing I know I’m being bundled into a cell."

Maddie, 11, Sam and Colin Marsh with a replacement iPad showing the slab of clay they got from Tesco

Maddie, Sam and Colin Marsh with a replacement iPad showing the slab of clay they got from Tesco

He added: "I was in there for three hours. It was then they told me the iPad had been activated in my name. I just thought 'how can that possibly be?' It didn't make any sense.

"I've run my own successful businesses for 22 years, and I own my own house. Why would I want to scam Tesco out of a £470 iPad?

"I eventually got in at about midnight, and told my wife what had happened. Maddie had woken up and was sitting on the stairs. She came running in and wouldn't stop crying for 20 minutes.

"I just thought they wanted to know what had happened, but the next thing I know I’m being bundled into a cell..." - Colin Marsh

"It was bloody awful to see her like that."

Police carried out their own investigations and discovered the information provided by Tesco was wrong and the iPad had not been activated in Mr Marsh's name, but to another email address elsewhere in the UK.

His bail was cancelled and he was told he would not face any charges.

Mr Marsh was given a refund by Tesco, but says he is yet to receive any compensation or even an apology.

He said: "You just can't treat people like that. It's absolutely disgusting.

"I'm not after loads of compensation or anything, but I've not even had so much as an apology from Tesco. It's disgraceful.

"Even now when I go in there I feel uncomfortable because I think the staff are looking at me and thinking 'he did it'.

"I just want this to act as a warning to other people, because I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what my family and I have."

The iPad was bought at Tesco in Whitstable

The iPad was bought at Tesco in Whitstable

Kent Police spokesman Jon Green said: "Mr Marsh was arrested on suspicion of fraud following information that the iPad in question had been registered in his name.

"This was investigated and as soon as it became clear that Mr Marsh had not committed any offences, his bail was cancelled and he was informed police would not be taking any further action against him."

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments belowTesco spokesman Jack Pearson said: "We were very disappointed to learn that the product we sold to Mr Marsh had been tampered with.

"We would, of course, never knowingly have sold it to Mr Marsh, and we apologise sincerely for the problems this has caused him.

"We immediately launched an internal investigation and shared the information we gathered with the police.

"The police investigation and the actions they took are a matter for the police."

The clay iPad scam first hit the headlines in January last year.

Fraudsters in Canada bought 24 of the tablets and, after removing them and filling the boxes with clay, returned them to a number of big-name stores.

Taken in by the perfect resealing of the boxes, staff gave refunds to the conmen and then re-sold the boxes of clay to unsuspecting customers.

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