Sports fashion retailer JD Sports has been fined £60,000 for breaching fire safety regulations at a former store in the Midlands.
JD Sports Fashion PLC pleaded guilty to six breaches during a hearing at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court after fire escapes and exits at the store were found to be blocked with clothes rails and crates.
The breaches came to light when West Midlands Fire Service carried out a routine pre-Christmas inspection on December 1, 2015.
Fire inspectors had told the store manager that the obstructions should be removed immediately and said they would return in an hour to ensure the instructions had been followed. This was done but when they returned 13 days later officers once again found the escape routes and exits blocked by display equipment and stock.
The court was told that the company had carried out an internal fire risk assessment in May 2014, which had highlighted the issue and advised that daily checks should take place to ensure the areas were kept clear.
In mitigation the court was told the company had expressed “sincere regret”, took full responsibility for its actions and had put in place actions at its new store from preventing this happening again.
District Judge Michael Wheeler fined the company £60,000 for the six breaches and ordered it to pay court costs of £7,463.52 and a £170 victim surcharge.
The judge said he recognised that the company had immediately taken steps to address the issues, adding: “Hopefully this problem will not occur again.
“It can’t be said that this is a company that sacrifices safety for profit as this company has taken this prosecution seriously.”