SUPERMARKET giant Sainsburys has been fined £12,500 over an illegal renovation of its Hereford petrol station.

Hereford Magistrates also ordered the company to pay £865.76 in costs.

Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd admitted three offences under the 1928 Petroleum Consolidation Act, the 1976 Health and Safety Act and the 1996 Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road regulations.

The rare - and complex - prosecution was brought by Herefordshire Council's trading standards department and related to a renovation of the petrol station at the Barton Yard store last summer.

Michael Jones, for the council, said the work went ahead without written consent from trading standards as the appropriate authority for licensing petrol storage and supply.

The 1928 Act required a trading standards officer to give plans for the work a go-ahead.

Though the contractor had submitted such plans, it went ahead without that approval - and was found to have done so when the officer involved drove past the petrol station to see a construction site said Mr Jones.

During the work a delivery system for pumping petrol into the station's underground tanks was altered, against the 1976 Act. As a result, said Mr Jones, one of the first deliveries to the new station was not supervised by a member of staff competent to do so - breaching the 1996 regulations.

George Robertson, for Sainsburys, said the contractor claimed misunderstandings arose over the plan approval process and the construction deadline its team was working to.

Sainsburys, said Mr Robertson, accepted the requirement for written consent. He said there was no attempt at deception or avoidance of responsibility.

Chair of the Bench Elizabeth Hyland said a fine of £4,500 for the illegal renovation and two of £4,000 each for the Health and Safety and Carriage of Dangerous Goods breaches took into account the company's 'timely guilty plea'.