M&S is facing legal action for allegedly failing to ensure that staff and customers were not exposed to risks from asbestos-containing materials during store refurbishments.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began its case against the retailer and four contractors this week for the alleged breaches at stores in Reading, Bournemouth and Plymouth between September 2004 and November 2006.

A committal hearing date has been set for 9 February at Bournemouth Magistrates Court.