Court action for rat infested food warehouse

A food warehouse in Croft has been prosecuted and fined due to a rat infestation and appalling conditions of cleanliness and hygiene.

Mr Busby, owner of Yum Yum, in Winston Avenue, Croft, pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court on Thursday 14 February 2013 was fined a total of £5,034.49.

The court was shown over 50 photographs illustrating the extent of the infestation and unhygienic conditions, and it described the premises as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘the worst that the court had had before them’.

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Yum Yum was originally reported to Blaby District Council in June 2012 after a neighbouring business complained and after an inspection from Environmental Health officers, was closed down for four weeks.

Ian Marriner, Environmental Health Officer at Blaby District Council, said:

“There was an active infestation of rats within the warehouse, with food having been gnawed, extensive evidence of rat droppings and live rates seen and heard. The floor was soiled with sweet debris including spilled sweets and chocolates, making it sticky in places.

“Outside there was a refuse skip that was overflowing with a mixture of refuse including food waste, meaning food was readily available to the indigenous rat population. This population had grown and become well established in the area.”

The warehouse reopened but due to the appalling conditions Blaby District Council took further action by prosecuting.

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The court was dismayed to learn the food business had not been registered with the Council, a legal obligation. There were also no waste disposal units at the time of the offences.

The court also learnt that even though the business suffered a drop in profits in 2011-12, the accounts showed “a pretty prosperous business”. It stated that Yum Yum, a business employing 30 people, should have had sufficient experience in-house to manage the hygiene and rat infestation problem better.

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Mr Busby was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1019.49 plus victim surcharge of £15.

Councillor Guy Jackson, portfolio holder for Regulatory and Neighbourhood Services, said:

“Many businesses in Blaby district work extremely hard to keep within hygiene ratings, so we must take action against those who don’t. This prosecution shows the Council is prepared to take action against any business or individual that is putting the health and safety of the public at risk.”

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For more information or to check food hygiene ratings in Blaby district and across the UK visit www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

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