A SWEET factory where a night shift worker was crushed to death was on Tuesday (March 16) convicted of breaching health and safety laws more than two years after his death.

Czech national Martin Pejril suffered fatal injuries on February 20, 2008, while he attempted to unblock a 6ft high jelly bean machine at Tangerine Confectionery in Alder Road, Branksome.

Jurors at Bournemouth Crown Court heard how the machine 33-year-old Mr Pejril was working on was prone to blockages and could sometimes stop up to 40 times in a single shift.

Prosecuting, Mark Balysz said there had been no safe system in place for staff tasked to investigate and clear blockages, and no written risk assessment.

The court was told how Mr Pejril, who lived at Draycott Road, Ensbury Park, Bournemouth, must have “misunderstood, misheard or didn’t hear” an instruction to switch off and isolate the machine.

Instead he climbed over the top and started removing trays, but found himself trapped when the machine re-started.

A colleague attempted to help Mr Pejril but unwittingly pressed the wrong button and made the situation worse.

In Tangerine Confectionery’s defence, the court heard that there had been a warning notice over the machine.

Defence barrister John Cooper said the prosecution case was “all about hindsight” and warned that the accident could happen again, adding: “We are dealing with an awful, awful human tragedy.”

Tangerine Confectionery denied two counts of breaching health and safety laws but, after two and a half hours of deliberations, jurors found the company guilty of both charges.

Judge John Harrow adjourned sentencing until a later date.

A Bournemouth inquest heard how safety procedures at the factory had been stepped up after Mr Pejril’s death. In a statement Mr Pejril’s widow Leona described him as “a loving, caring and hard-working man”.