A Midlands-based discount retailer was ordered to pay more than £152,000 after pleading guilty of eight offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, at Birmingham Crown Court today (20 January 2017).
Poundland Ltd – which is based at Wellmans Road, Willenhall, and runs Poundland at 1-4 Corporation Street, in Birmingham city centre – was fined £134,000 and ordered to pay £18,162 towards costs plus a £120 victim surcharge.
Birmingham City Council prosecuted Poundland Ltd after environmental health officers found evidence of mouse activity throughout the store on 27 February 2015 and 21 September 2015.
Officers found mouse droppings throughout the premises, as well as a gnawed Easter egg and dirty conditions, so a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice (HEPN) was issued as conditions posed an imminent risk of injury to health as food was either contaminated or at risk of contamination.
Following a revisit on 2 March 2015, the discount shop was allowed to reopen as the risk to health was removed. Staff told officers 17 mice had been caught over the weekend.
Poundland provided officers with details of the company’s policies, procedures and due diligence, but cited the extensive building works outside the Corporation Street store as a contributing factor, leading to increased pest activity.
On 21 September 2015, officers visited a second Poundland store – at 512 Martineau Place, 76-77 Corporation Street – after receiving a complaint from a member of the public.
Officers found mouse droppings throughout the premises and food packaging nibbled by mice, including several chocolate Father Christmas novelties, as well as dirty conditions. An HEPN was issued as the conditions posed an imminent risk of injury to health, as food was either contaminated or at risk of contamination.
Following a revisit on 24 September 2015, Poundland was allowed to reopen as the risk to health was removed.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee said: “Environmental health officers found mouse droppings throughout the premises, including on shop shelves and on some food items.
“Officers have worked with Poundland to ensure conditions were brought up to necessary standards at both stores, as required by legislation.
“All food businesses are included in a regular inspection programme which is designed to ensure they all operate to a good standard, and firms that don’t comply with these strict standards will be prosecuted.”
Both Poundland stores on Corporation Street remain open and continue to trade.