WARNING: graphic content - Poundland fined Â£32k after dead mouse and rodent droppings found in Luton store
Poundland was fined over Â£32k last week after inspectors found rodent droppings and food containers soaked in urine at a branch in Luton.
Representatives of Poundland appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on August 9 to answer three health and safety offences.
Luton Council’s food safety team visited the store at Luton Retail Park on January 15 after allegations of mouse droppings and other rodent activity.
Inspectors found poor standards of housekeeping and problems with rodents. Significant amounts of mouse droppings and urine were found in the shop as well as chewed packets of food and even a dead mouse.
A box containing packaged food was also soaked in urine.
During the Court hearing, Poundland informed the Court that company procedures had fallen down at a local level. The store did however take immediate steps to clean the premises after the visit. It remove the damaged stock and put in place additional pest control measures.
The Judge hearing the case failed to see why basic things had not been done such as fitting brushes to doors to stop rodents passing under. She also commented on the unacceptable state of the store room making cleaning nearly impossible.
Poundland pleaded guilty to three offences relating to cleanliness, construction and pest control and are required to pay a fine amounting to £33,949 within 28 days.
Cllr Rachel Hopkins portfolio holder for enforcement said: “The Council is absolutely committed to attracting investment into Luton and part of this is ensuring that we have high standards across the town.
“We will have no hesitation in prosecuting owners that continue to ignore food hygiene standards and put people’s health at risk.
“Having a good, reputable pest control contract in place is only one part of effective
pest control management; it is also important that staff and management are vigilant
to signs of pest and report them immediately. Cleaning and maintaining high standards of housekeeping both inside and outside of premises is essential so pests are not attracted or encouraged to stay.
“It is very important to also have good waste management procedures, including an
adequate number of lidded bins as well as ensuring buildings are secure, blocking all
gaps and entry points into buildings.”
A Poundland spokesman said: “Poundland takes matters relating to the health and safety of its colleagues and customers very seriously. Following an inspection by Environmental Health Officers, we have rectified the issues identified and have ensured adequate procedures are in place.”