Meyrick Kirk got a lot more than he bargained for when he bought a pack of socks from Primark in Huddersfield.

For tucked into the toe of one of the socks was a plaintive cry for help.

Tightly folded, it was a letter seemingly from a Chinese man pleading for help in a stand against his government.

But the firm insists it could be a hoax, as there have been previous tricks before.


In the note the man claims to have been falsely imprisoned, that his wife is being tortured and that his father was murdered. He goes on to ask for media help.

“I was surprised to say the least,” said Mr Kirk, 45, from Netherthong.

“I thought I had bought a straightforward six-pack of socks.”

Curious to know more, he sent it to his brother who teaches English in Japan and got his daughter Lucy to upload the letter on to social media. Various people have since come forward with translations.

“The general opinion is it is from an oppressed person working in a sweat-shop or in prison,” said Mr Kirk.

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Translators have deciphered the man’s name. He's in his 30s and lives in China’s Anhui province.

“We can’t do anything about his situation but it's alarming that people are having to report this sort of stuff,” said Mr Kirk.

“I am sure it was put in the sock deliberately.

“It was a cry for help.”

Primark’s response suggests others have found similar notes.

The company said: “We have been the subject of hoaxes before. This allegation that a note was found in a Primark sock, cannot be corroborated because neither the product, packaging or a receipt has been given to us, despite the fact we have asked for them repeatedly.

“Without this information we cannot investigate.”

The company adds that it requires all suppliers to comply with a strict code of conduct and that it makes frequent inspections to ensure it is enforced, employing a large team of experts in countries such as Bangladesh and China, to oversee this work.

“Our approach is rigorous and sustainable, based on global standards,” said Primark.