A FIRM has paid compensation to a little boy who got an electric shock at one of its centres.

Harley Sutton-Dormer, now five, was left screaming in agony after a faulty hairdryer at Belhus Park Leisure Centre sent a bolt of electricity through his body in 2010.

Luckily, Harley was wearing plastic “Croc” shoes, and his mum believes they saved him from serious injury.

Centre owners Impulse Leisure agreed to pay Harley £1,750 in compensation at Basildon Magistrates’ Court last Monday after pleading guilty to two failings under health and safety law.

Harley’s mum, Danielle Sutton, 27, of Danbury Crescent, South Ockendon, is pleased the firm, which also had to pay a fine and costs totalling £7,425, has been held to account.

She said: “Harley had nightmares after the incident, he wouldn’t go swimming again for about six months, yet we’ve never had a proper apology from Impulse, or a letter.

“I had to chase them to find out what was happening with the investigation all the time.

“I feel better now, but I think it is disgusting how we were treated.”

Harley was left with a burn mark on his side and singed clothes after he picked up the hairdryer in the changing room at the South Ockendon centre.

Paramedics said his shoes probably stopped the electricity coming out through his feet.

One of the hairdryers had a sign on it saying it was out of order, but the one Harley picked up didn’t.

Impulse, which operates two other leisure centres in Thurrock, said it has apologised twice to Ms Sutton, both over the phone and by letter.

Chief executive Mike Baden said: “Both parents were sent separate written apologies from me some months after the incident.

“The written apologies followed up from a verbal apology both in person to Mr Dormer, and on the telephone to Ms Sutton.

“The court agreed Impulse Leisure had an exemplary health and safety record.

“Misuse of the hairdryers over time had caused damage to the cable.

“It was unclear whether this damage would have been visible to visual inspection.

“It was, however, agreed the hairdryers were not sufficiently robust for the area in which they were installed and that our inspection regime was not robust enough for this type of hairdryer.

“Shortly after the incident this type of hairdryer was removed from the changing rooms.”

Mr Baden added: “We’re sorry this incident occurred and caused distress to Harley and his family.

“We are disappointed it occurred at all, as we take health and safety very seriously and spend many hours assessing risk and implementing systems to reduce the risk of accidents to staff and customers alike.”