WHSmith has been ordered to pay its biggest fine ever after a woman fell through a trapdoor in their Taunton store.
A 64-year-old customer was looking at birthday cards on February 16th 2014, when she fell three metres into the storage basement below.
She was taken to hospital with a severe leg injury and since the accident, she has had to undergo three operations to rebuild her heel.
A court heard staff at the store used the trapdoor to update stock by passing items up from the basement.
An investigation by Taunton Deane Borough Council found inadequacies in the system of work and said the incident was "foreseeable and preventable".
The British retailer pleaded guilty at Taunton Crown Court in May 2018, to breaching its general duties regarding health and safety.
Upon sentencing on 31st October 2018, Judge Ticehurst said it was "abundantly clear" her injuries had a "devastating effect" on her.
A WHSmith spokesperson said:
As well as being fined £337,500, WHSmith was also ordered to pay over £135,000 towards Taunton Deane Borough Council's legal costs .
The store has since moved its items to another store room and the trapdoor is no longer used.