Members of the Canvey Island community have been expressing their outrage after the arrest of local shop owner Marianne Bunn yesterday. Shortly after 5pm, cops raided Bunn Stores on Van De Huuuymans Lane and immediately took Ms Bunn into custody for ‘selling fraudulent items through misrepresentation’ – she has been accused of selling fake ‘ALWAYS POSITIVE’ pregnancy testing kits in her shop to boost sales of early pregnancy items and accessories.
A police spokesperson said: ‘We were delighted with the raid operation that 15 uniformed officers carried out yesterday. Along with an arrest, more than 1000 suspect pregnancy testing kits were seized, and we have now prepared a full file to be sent over to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration. We would also like to extend our thanks to the vigilant residents of Canvey Island who provided us with valuable intelligence leading up to the successful cross-agency police operation.’
Dr Shelvin Brackett is a GP at the Cornelius Mercutio Medical Centre in Central Canvey, and he spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Southend News Network about his role in the investigation. He said: ‘I first became suspicious about Bunn Stores when my number of new monthly pregnancy referrals increased by 1400% in February 2016. As it is no longer NHS practice to carry out our own tests as confirmation, my practice nurses just referred them all to the South Essex Midwifery Team. When we started getting complaints from the Senior Midwife about incorrect test results, I discovered that they had all visited Bunn Stores to buy the 99p ‘special offer’ tests, and when I visited the shop I noticed that they had a ridiculously large range of baby clothes and maternity products for an off license.’
Diana Progestinni is a teacher at Shell Haven View Primary School on the island, and she raised the alarm after buying 50 of the kits for Sex and Relationships Education lessons at the school. She said: ‘During one of our lessons with the Year 6 pupils, I gave a kit to each of our twelve girls in the class to try and teach them about the dangers of sexual intercourse at such a young age. The following morning, I was dragged into headteacher’s office to explain why we had a whole class of 10 and 11-year old girls who were sobbing frantically about being pregnant. I tried one of the tests to find out that I was the first ever 68-year-old woman to be ‘expecting’ on Canvey, and when our caretaker Colin got a second pink line I realised that something wasn’t quite right.’
Bunn Stores has now closed ‘until further notice,’ and Ms Bunn is due to appear before Benfleet Magistrates Court on Friday morning.