Houghton Regis Poundstretcher in Trouble Over Mice - Fined £26k + Costs

Mice infestation results in £26K fine for Poundstretcher

Poundstretcher, Bedford Square, Houghton Regis: fined for mouse problems in 2013 

National retailer Poundstretcher has been fined £26,000 for hygiene offences at their Houghton Regis store following a prosecution by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Environmental Health Officers following up on a report of mice at the Bedford Square store on 22 January 2013 found mice had gnawed food on the shelves and mouse droppings in the shop and warehouse. Contaminated food was identified and disposed of. Despite assurances from Poundstretcher’s pest control contractor that there would be daily pest control visits, no such visits were made between 25 and 31 January 2013.

The company pleaded guilty to five offences at Luton Magistrates Court on 24 February 2014. Magistrates set fines totalling £26,000 and the company agreed to pay the Council’s full costs of just over £6,000.

Magistrates were informed that mouse activity at the store had first been reported to head office by the store manager on 2 November 2012. Poundstretcher’s Barrister asked the court to take account of the guilty pleas when sentencing, as this had saved further court time by avoiding the need for a full trial.

Councillor Brian Spurr for Central bedfordshire Council Sustainable Communities – Services said, “Businesses have a responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their customers. Premises serving or selling food who neglect basic hygiene standards are knowingly putting people’s health at risk and we will have no hesitation in prosecuting businesses who fail their customers in this way.”

Staff at the store last night insisted that there was no problem now, the incident was over a year ago, and it had all been sorted out now.