Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Poundland fined for rodent-gnaw Santas

Poundland in Birmingham
Image caption Poundland had pleaded guilty to breaching food hygiene laws

Poundland has been fined £134,000 for food hygiene breaches including rodent-gnawed chocolate Santas.

Evidence of "mice activity" was found at two stores in Birmingham, the city's crown court heard on Friday.

Poundland had previously admitted eight offences relating to two of its outlets on Corporation Street.

Judge Mary Stacey, who said she had shopped at both stores, said it showed a failure to monitor and supervise at a senior corporate level.

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The firm's barrister, Ian Thomas, said the company was "sorry it's let its very loyal customer base down".

Judge Stacey said: "In both stores in the periods with which we are concerned there had been mouse activity which had been proven to exist over a three-month period prior to the environmental health officers going in."

Lee Bennett, prosecuting on behalf of Birmingham City Council, told the court inspectors visited the two stores in February and September 2015 after complaints from members of the public.

The court heard conditions said to pose an imminent risk to health at the shops included a partially-eaten Easter egg.

Pictures of chocolate Father Christmas figures, including one with part of its head nibbled through, were also presented in court.

At earlier hearings, the firm pleaded guilty to breaching food hygiene laws, admitting a total of eight offences relating to the shops.

Mr Thomas said the gnawed Santas had been in a stockroom and there had been "zero chance" of the products being consumed.

"The company takes this matter very, very seriously," he added.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of £18,162.

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