Beware Hole in Store: OAP ‘severely injured’ in fall through shop manhole

The Bhs shop on Princes Street

The Bhs shop on Princes Street

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DEPARTMENT store chain Bhs is facing criminal charges after a pensioner browsing in its Princes Street store fell through an open manhole.

Mollie MacGregor was walking through the shop’s lighting department when she fell into the hole leading to a storage area and suffered severe injuries

Now prosecutors have launched a criminal action against Bhs, owned by billionaire tycoon Sir Philip Green, alleging the store was negligent in leaving shoppers at risk. The case was called at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, but lawyers for the company asked for the case to be continued without plea until a hearing next month.

Ms MacGregor, who was 77 at the time of the accident on January 15, 2009, was treated by paramedics at the store before being taken to hospital by ambulance.

Investigators later found alleged breaches of health and safety regulations and passed a dossier to the Crown Office.

Court papers accuse Bhs of failing to make a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of the risk faced by customers at the store by leaving a floor manhole open on the basement level floor.

The company, which has 187 stores throughout the UK, is also charged with failing to ensure the health and safety of Ms MacGregor, leading to her falling through the manhole to her “severe injury”.

It is understood that Ms MacGregor, who lives in Portobello, has not launched a civil compensation claim against Bhs. Today, she said that she was still too upset to speak about the incident.

Sheriff William Holligan ruled the case would call again on January 12.