Tesco has been fined £300,000 by Birmingham City Council after misleading the public over a ‘half price’ offer on strawberries.

Tesco was prosecuted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 after running promotions the council claimed would “deceive” consumers.

The grocer ran promotions on 400g punnets in summer 2011 marked as ‘half price’ however the length of the lower price offer was more than the duration the old higher price was available.

Tesco’s offer at £1.99 ran for 14 weeks and its original higher price strawberries were sold at £3.99 for “a much shorter length of time”, the council said.

The issue was brought to Trading Standards’ attention by a local shopper at Sheldon, Birmingham store and the investigation was then widened to Tesco stores nationally.

The promotion was likely to have caused the average consumer to make a purchasing decision that they would not otherwise have made, Birmingham City Council said.

Birmingham City Council head of trading standards Sajeela Naseer said: “This is not only a victory for Birmingham customers it also has wider benefits for all consumers across the country.”

Tesco said: “We apologise sincerely for this mistake, which was made in the summer of 2011.

“We sell over 40,000 products in our stores, with thousands on promotion at any one time, but even one mistake is one too many.

“Since then, to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we’ve given colleagues additional training and reminded them of their responsibilities to ensure we always adhere to the guidelines on pricing.”