December 12 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Supermarket shoppers and staff – as well as a driver and her daughter – were lucky to escape serious injury when a car crashed through a brick wall into the Tesco store in Dereham.
Stock was flung down the aisle as the Smart car ploughed into the side of the shop on Kingston Road at about 8.45pm on September 4, leaving a hole in the wall and damaging a fire door.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, which attended the scene along with police and fire crews, said a woman in her mid-40s and a girl in her mid-teens were assessed at the scene, but did not require hospital treatment.
Store manager Scott Forsyth said the accident could have been much worse if it had happened at a busier time of day.
He said: “It was a mother and daughter driving an automatic Smart car, and she hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and basically drove through the wall. No-one was hurt.
“It could have been potentially very dangerous. The impact of the car meant both air bags went off and about a quarter of the car came through. The impact from that probably blasted stock 50ft down the aisle.
“Fortunately no-one was down that aisle. To not have any customers down there at that time was unbelievable.
“She went through the wall at the quietest part of the store and potentially the quietest part of the day. It was just before the time when the night people come in and start filling shelves, so if it was going to happen at any time, this was the ideal time.”
The damaged car was pulled free from the wall on the following morning, while engineers worked to make the building safe. Mr Forsyth said there was no serious structural damage to the steel-framed building, and that a permanent repair would be completed within the next few weeks.
The crash was not the first drama the store has experienced in recent weeks.
Last month, customers were evacuated after heavy thunderstorms left the store flooded.
Mr Forsyth said: “It is all a day in the life of running a big shop. Shops like this bring hundreds of staff and thousands of customers together in a concentrated place, so things will always happen.
“We are used to it. There’s nothing we cannot deal with.”