Newhaven retailer fined £200k for health and safety breaches

Overcrowded ... inside the Poundstretcher premises in Newhaven
Overcrowded ... inside the Poundstretcher premises in Newhaven

Poundstretcher has been fined £200,000 after officers from Lewes District Council conducted a health and safety prosecution against the discount retailer’s Newhaven branch.

The case followed inspections that resulted in the business pleading guilty to a range of offences at the branch.

The company, which has 400 stores and 6,000 staff nationwide, was also prosecuted by West Berkshire Council and Swindon Borough Council for similar offences. In total, the Poundstretcher Group was fined £1m for 24 different offences, plus legal costs for the three councils.

Five of the offences related to serious overstocking and poor management practices at its premises in Newhaven. The inspection findings included a dangerously overstocked storeroom and blocked gangways.

Cllr Isabelle Linington, Cabinet Member for Environmental Impact at Lewes District Council, said: “Protecting residents by ensuring all businesses comply with health and safety law is essential. Good health and safety practices save lives and this council will not hesitate to take enforcement action when businesses play fast and loose with the welfare of their staff and customers.”

Ed Hele, Functional Lead for Quality Environment at Lewes District Council, said: “When businesses operate in a manner that places staff and the public at risk, we have to act. We work hard to give businesses in the Lewes District the information they need to comply with health and safety requirements, but when the advice and direction is ignored we have to take action.”