Inspection officials in the UK’s confectionery industry have issued an alert for an URGENT RECALL of more than 500,000 sticks of Southend rock after a random laboratory test found that a number of sticks contained a ‘significant amount’ of COCAINE.
The devastating scale of the situation only emerged a few days ago when an entire coach of East London children ate a small piece of the popular Southend souvenir during their journey home.
Researchers have identified a batch of around 524,000 sticks of Southend rock that were produced at the Blowton and Sons factory in Canewdon, and they are all marked with the date ‘January 2016.’
Armed police arrived at the premises yesterday with a warrant to search the site, and the error was traced to a batch of icing sugar that had recently been imported from Bogota, Colombia.
It has also been confirmed that staff at the site did not realise the true contents of the shipment when producing the sweet treats, and a wider investigation is now underway.
The authorities were alerted on Tuesday 23rd February when a group of 35 children from Wanstead Boulevard Academy Primary School were returning home from a trip to the seaside – an annual tradition for pupils there.
The class teacher Sadie Jones, who didn’t have any of the rock due to being a diabetic, told us: ‘We visited a shop on the seafront shortly before heading back towards the A127 and purchased some rock to give to the children on the way home, and each pupil was given a very small piece.’
‘Around 30 minutes into our journey, the traffic was awful and we had only made it as far as Rayleigh Weir, and suddenly a few of the kids kept running to the front of the coach and complaining about not being able to feel their teeth.
At the same time, the kids at the back were singing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ faster and faster, over and over again, and one of them just started counting all of the stripes on the upholstery out loud in five different languages.’
‘We didn’t really have enough staff to deal with all of these problems at the same time, and just after reaching the M25 someone screamed ‘I AM BATMAN SUPERMAN IRON MAN’ and launched themself through the Emergency Exit door at the rear of the coach at 60 mph – we are delighted to say that he didn’t sustain any injuries.’
All of the children on the trip have made a full recovery, and officials are warning the general public to be ‘extra vigilant’ when purchasing or eating any Southend rock – this can be easily identified by the words ‘Southend’ and ‘On’ and ‘Sea’ that can usually be found running through the middle of it.
We asked a local shopkeeper if they have taken any extra precautions to protect their customers.
Marlon Buga, who owns Estuary Gifty Bits in Southend, said: ‘If any customers have been affected by this faulty batch of Southend Rock, we would be delighted to offer them a full refund and a 10% discount off their next purchase – however the stick of rock will need to returned in its entirety to ensure that we comply with consumer regulations.’
‘Alternatively, we are more than willing to swap it for a magnet.’