Record fine for mouse infested Poundworld store

Published: 08 August 2018

Poundworld has been handed the highest fine in the town’s history for food hygiene offences dating back to 2016.

Poundworld Retail Limited, 37 Queensmere Shopping Centre, Slough, SL1 1DD was ordered to pay a fine of £350,000 for failing to protect food against contamination.

Costs of £2,923.25 were also awarded to Slough Borough Council.

The council’s food and safety team initially issued Poundworld with a caution in March 2017 following a mouse infestation in October 2016.

The store then closed voluntarily to address the problem and the council provided support and advice to Poundworld at this time.

Following a second caution, a senior environmental officer visited the premises in May 2017 to follow up on a complaint received from a member of the public alleging mouse activity in the store.

During that inspection the officer discovered bags of pork scratchings on sale to the public, which were damaged by mice and had been contaminated by mouse urine and droppings.

Slough Borough Council attended a hearing at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday 3 August that resulted in the retailer’s sentence. Poundworld did not attend.

The judge considered the size of the organisation, similar previous convictions and caution and a lack of appropriate systems in place before imposing the sentence.

Councillor Pavitar K Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “Our food and safety team work closely with local businesses, providing the support they need to improve their standards of food hygiene.

“If retailers do not raise their standards and continue to perform poorly, we have no choice but to take action to protect the public from risk, including taking persistent offenders to court.

“Despite our support and advice, Poundworld continued to perform poorly, posing a potential threat to the health of the public.

“I dread to think how many people may have bought contaminated food from this store and hopefully this large fine will serve as a warning to other businesses in Slough thinking of ignoring food hygiene regulations.”

To report any concerns about food safety and hygiene, please contact the food and safety team on foodandsafety@slough.gov.uk.