A TESCO customer’s two-year feud with the supermarket chain over “fire hazard” rubbish outside their store has continues after he allegedly found their storage shed ablaze.
Mark Ward claims that he has been contacting Tesco for over two years regarding packaging and rubbish left on the pavement outside their Express store in Thamesmead, South East London.
The charity volunteer explained that upon first moving in nearby at that time, a wooden shed had allegedly been set alight.
Since then, Mark claims that he has consistently alerted the branch manager to the unsightliness and fire hazards posed by the rubbish – which he says has all fallen on deaf ears.
However, the situation came to a head when Mark allegedly drove past the store this month to find that a storage shed had yet again gone up in flames.
Mark claims he has contacted the branch manager as recently as April and was told that the situation would be resolved but has seen nothing happen yet.
He adds that the dangers posed by the blaze could affect the residents living above the branch as well as the surrounding wildlife, and is pleading with the store to take action before further chaos ensues,
He continued, adding that despite contacting the branch manager as recently as April and being told the situation would be resolved, nothing has been done yet.
Several images show the side of the Tesco branch littered with metal cages, cardboard and plastic boxes post-fire.
Staff can be seen assessing the situation outside as charred rubbish can be seen scattered on the ground.
One man appears to be wearing a Hi-Vis vest and looks to be on the phone to someone while surveying the shocking aftermath.
A further photo shows the shed after fire has ripped through it, with the rear of the metal structure having been burnt away, exposing the inside.
Remnants of the shed lie beside a sweeping brush as the previously shelved items are incinerated by the fire.
Black and yellow striped tape cordons off the area while unaffected nearby houses overlook the damage.
Mark took to social media earlier this month to share his disgust, writing: “So for two years plus, I have been calling and emailing Tesco about leaving their rubbish on the pavement outside their shop here.
“Not only does it look a bleeding mess but as I explained, it’s a fire hazard as once before, when we first moved here, someone set fire to the then-wooden storage shed outside.
“At least five times, I have been promised a call back from the area manager. Not once have they called back and nothing was done.
“I called again about four months ago and finally one of the store managers finally called me back and said [to] give him three weeks and he will sort it.
“He was going to come back to me when it was sorted. Well, [it] never was and [he] never ever came back to me.
“So, today I am driving out and guess what? Yep, its caught light [sic]. You can see all the cages that were stored outside.
“We warned you, all it needed was a discarded cigarette or a piece of glass and the sun and today it happened for the second time.
“I should add – just above the shop there are people’s flats, and just behind where the wall is in the background with the sat dishes, is our lovely canal area with all kinds of wildlife from swans to geese, birds and all manner.
“Not only was this one of the reasons we did not want this stuff outside as it keeps blowing everywhere and is clearly a danger to wildlife but now so is all that ash and burned remains which is now just left at the side of the store ready to blow around.
“I have called yet again but still nobody will speak to me. Really, Tesco, is this the face of a caring business?
“So, when will this all be cleaned up – bearing in mind the wildlife and will you now agree not to leave all your rubbish outside on the pavement? Albeit, a bit late now.”
The post received dozens of likes and comments as shocked locals shared their thoughts on the post.
Marie Cheras wrote: “OMG!”
While Mins Parsons said: “So, in two years have you contacted environmental health or the LA?”
Sandie Reed commented: “Why not ring Environmental Health.”
Mark added in the comments: “[They’ve] still not even bothered to get back to me or clear up this mess.
“The amazing thing is nobody thought it rather – shall we say – silly to cordon it off with cages full of cardboard, paper and plastic. The exact thing that caused the problem.
“I know how dangerous this could have been to the people living above.”
Speaking today, Mark said: “Our local Tesco store keep putting all their rubbish, cages, anything basically – including things like old National Lottery stands from inside the shop – out at the side on the pavement/bike path.
“The big cages are often full of cardboard and plastic, never covered even in the winter when we can have 30mph winds blowing a gale.
“There is also the safety aspect of this, as I was part of the residents group for a number of years and at the side of Tesco just next to where they put all this stuff is a large shed-like building.
“Back then, it burned to the ground. At the time, arson was suspected and it was rebuilt with a metal outer to hopefully make it safer.
“Clearly having a load of stacks of flammable cardboard and plastic stored outside like that – given the past and just the fact that anyone going in to the store, walking along the side, smoking and knowing they will have to get rid of it, throw it away, it ends up inside one of the cages and boom we have a fire.
“I should also add there are flats right above the Tesco store which makes it even more of an issue.
“We just don’t want the place looking like a dump. We have a lovely area to live with the canals, green areas, the Thames.
“There are not many affordable places in London where you can have ducks or swans walking along your street or just go across the road and have a lovely canal and then then you turn around to that lot.
“I started over two years ago calling Tesco and asking them to stop this. Every time, you just get told an area manager will look in to it or they will email the store – nobody ever really seemed to take it seriously.
“I stepped up my calls this year and about four months ago got a call from someone who said they were the store manager and promising to sort this within three weeks and get back to me.
“They never did and cardboard continued to be stacked outside.
“Then two weeks ago on the Friday, I was leaving and drove past a cordoned-off side to Tesco, so being nosey I went back for a look only to find that exactly what I had warned them about had happened and indeed there had been a fire at the side of the store in these cages.
“There was a total mess of ash on the floor and someone decided it was a great idea to cordon off the area with the cages full of cardboard.
“You can see how far up the heat/fire went because the alarm box had melted and the wall above the door at the side shows signs of heat/fire damage which is only ten feet from the flats above.
“It then took nearly four days to get them to actually get all the ash removed, again this is a danger to the wildlife and we had strong winds that weekend meaning it was just blowing everywhere not to mention looking a total mess.
And now to top it all off, despite several emails to Ken Murphy – the Tesco CEO’s – office and speaking to the store manager, they are still storing this stuff outside.
“It’s totally unbelievable and shows a total lack of any social responsibility from Tesco, I have called, emailed and still all you get even form the CEO’s office is they can only email the store, the actual person who runs Tesco apparently can’t do anything about this.”
A Tesco spokesperson today said: “These pictures taken from Facebook are out of date.
“They were taken the morning after vandals damaged the external storage shed outside our Thamesmead Express earlier this month and the area was cleared as soon as possible after the incident.
“The obvious fire damage in the photos was immediately cleared up by store colleagues.”