Poundland has been hit with a huge fine for food safety failures at its Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre store after mouse droppings were found in a packet of Monster Munch.

The national discount retail chain was successfully prosecuted by Ealing Council and fined £159,750 today (Wednesday, August 15) after pleading guilty to four food safety offences.

Back in April 2017, a four-year-old girl picked up a multi-pack of Monster Munch with her mum, which turned out to have mice droppings within the packet and holes in the bags inside.

The mum contacted the food safety team at Ealing Council to express her concerns and the local authority's food safety team then carried out a full investigation at the Ealing Broadway store.

Mouse droppings were found in the multi-pack of Monster Munch

They found that Poundland "failed to protect food against any contamination likely to render the food unfit for human consumption", as well as failing to keep the premises clean.

According to Ealing Council, the team also found the store failed to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests and did not ensure that the construction of the store allowed for good food hygiene practices.

These included protection against contamination and pest control.

A judge imposed a fine of £159,750 at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court today, with Poundland agreeing to pay the council's costs of £8,368.

The company was also ordered to pay £150 in compensation to the customer who originally bought the food.

Councillor Joanna Camadoo, cabinet member for community safety and inclusion, said: "Food safety standards and public health are of the utmost importance and we’re delighted that the court has recognised how serious these offences are.

"It is vital that the public can have confidence in the hygiene standards in our high street shops and this fine should serve as a stark warning to all businesses, whether large or small, that if they do not comply with regulations, we will take action."

Anyone with concerns regarding a food business within the borough should contact the food safety team on 0208 825 6666.

A spokesman for Poundland said: "We wish we could turn the clock back but we can't.

"We took the opportunity today to apologise directly in court for the circumstances that led to the prosecution.

"They stemmed from practices in Ealing that were unacceptable to us.

"We took the opportunity today to reassure the court that we've done everything we can over the last 17 months to overhaul our approach to pest control and training

"Nothing is more important to us than the highest in-store standards."