Discount retailer Poundworld has been fined £1.1m due to its Croydon store failing food hygiene protocols, with over 100 dead mice and a dead fox found in the premises.
The retailer was found to have taped products up that rodents had eaten and put them back on sale, reports the Croydon Advertiser. Council inspectors found droppings and half-eaten food in the store.
The Croydon retailer previously admitted to five food safety offences and two breaches of health and safety at work regulations at an earlier court hearing. It was fined £660,000 for the food safety offences, and £500,000 for one of the health and safety at work offences – with no separate penalty for the second.
Judge Elizabeth Smaller also awarded costs of £30,409.60 and a victim surcharge of £120. The total figure amounted to £1,190,529.60.
Evidence was found by a member of the public who complained about an infestation. Charges were given after council officers visited the store in 2016 and discovered ‘out-of-control’ infestation.
Over an 11-month period over 100 mice were found dead in the store, as well as a dead fox.
Not only was the shop floor infested but the basement and storage areas were also contaminated with mouse droppings.
A Poundworld spokesperson, commented: “The safety and comfort of our customers and employees is of the utmost importance to us and we apologise for the unacceptable conditions found at our Croydon store in February (2016).
“As soon as we learnt about the problem at the store, we worked very closely with Trading Standards and undertook immediate action to remedy all of the issues highlighted during their visit.
“The store was inspected again by Trading Standards in September 2016 and was awarded a four-star rating. We have taken the necessary steps to help ensure that the unacceptable conditions found at our Croydon store never happen again.”