A North East branch of B&M has been reprimanded for having rats scurrying in the store, rat droppings left in parts of the shop and fly larvae beneath shelves.

B&M on Trunk Road in Eston, Middlesbrough was visited by the Food Standards Authority on August 22, 2023, following concerns about the health and safety of the cleaning and pests taking over parts of the facility. 

During the inspection, the report noted that the store, which only opened in 2018, 'requires improvement' - which included 'ongoing rat activity inside the store', and was handed a two-star hygiene rating by the inspector. 

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While no issues were raised about food hygiene and safety procedures during the inspection, serious concerns about dirt on products and the floor of the self-service sweet section were flagged.

However, it was the main issues involving suspected ongoing rat activity beneath in-store racking, fly larvae cases beneath in-store racking, previous pest proofing advice not actioned, blocked drainage gully in the yard, and cleaning standards not adequate.

The Northern Echo: B&M EstonB&M Eston (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)

Other concerns from the report cited that the sliding doors at the front of the store weren't functioning properly, daily checks weren't carried out and the pest control contractor had flagged up several issues. 

Those included: 

  • 19/05 – control points were not accessible due to stock levels in the warehouse – this was still the case during this inspection.
  • 10/ 08 Staff asked to clear food from the floor, seal the opening around air-con cables and remove the external bin. Also noted front doors broken so left open all day as well as garden centre doors and warehouse doors standing open.
  • 16/08 Rat sighted in-store – request for staff to clear food from the floor on 10/08 was still outstanding.
  • 26/06 – fly casts below racking on the shop floor – requested to be cleared up – these were still present (or ones had appeared) during this inspection 2 months later mouse droppings on the shop floor.

The report concluded with the inspector saying that overcrowding of stock was the final issue that was noted, with the report reading: "A health and safety inspection was not carried out however the overstocking of goods in the warehouse is a matter of evident concern.

"It was not possible to safely walk from one end of the warehouse to the other as the thoroughfares were obstructed.

The Northern Echo: Rats were spotted at the storeRats were spotted at the store (Image: PA MEDIA)

"Stock could not safely be retrieved from racking as the floor areas beneath were blocked. This was seen on both the inspection visit and the revisit.

"The warehouse must be re-organised, and stock reduced where necessary so that there is safe access and egress and goods can be safely accessed.

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"Until this time staff should be instructed not to climb into areas which are not easily accessed."

It's understood that a follow-up food hygiene rating was carried out around October 3 - but the publishing of that report hasn't taken place yet. 

The Northern Echo has reached out to B&M for comment.