A discount retailer in Thetford previously labelled ‘filthy’ by health inspectors has been ordered to pay almost £50,000 for serious environmental legislation breaches.
Poundstretcher, in Minstergate, was found to have committed six serious contraventions of environmental health-related legislation when inspectors from Breckland Council visited last year.
Inspectors discovered a rat infestation and blocked fire exits in the ‘filthy’ premises.
Investigations by the Environmental Health Team began in January 2014, with a visit uncovering serious breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and of Food Safety and Hygiene regulations.
Despite orders to address the problems, further visits in March 2014 found the premises, including the staff room, in a ‘filthy’ condition and revealed a rat infestation infestation and excess stock obstructing walkways and fire exits.
Fines of £38,000 and further charges, amouting to a total of £46,547.83, were imposed by Norwich Magistrates Court on May 6.
After agreeing to a voluntary closure, the company implemented a store refit in Thetford and has since rolled out a food safety management system across all its premises.
A spokesman for the retailer called the failures ‘totally unacceptable’.
“Poundstretcher would like to apologise to its customers for the operational failures at its Thetford store. Action was taken to address the issues and protocol put in place to ensure there would be no repetition,” he said.
Michael Wassell, Breckland Council leader, said: “The council takes its responsibility to protect public health very seriously and will not tolerate such poor standards.”