Published: Friday, 9 October 2020
A fish and chip shop was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,555 in costs after Environmental Health Officers found numerous rat droppings at a town centre takeaway.
Loughborough Magistrates were told yesterday (8 October) that when staff from Oadby and Wigston Borough’s Council’s food safety team visited the Wigston Fish Bar on Leicester Road, Wigston last November, they discovered signs of an active rat infestation in both the premises’ main food preparation and chipping areas.
The droppings found were fresh in nature due to their distinctively wet appearance and from the powerful odour of urine being emitted. When the officers looked around the premises, a number of entry points for rats into the establishment were identified, including an unprotected externally-leading open drainage channel.
After the infestation was discovered, the company voluntarily closed the premises to clean up and carry out treatment. The business was subsequently allowed to re-open after food safety staff were satisfied that action had been taken to eradicate the infestation and improve standards.
The company who runs the chippy, Sandhu Saab Enterprises Limited, admitted three breaches of food hygiene regulations and was ordered by magistrates to pay a victim surcharge in addition to the fine and costs.
When sentencing, the magistrates said that the business had “set itself up to fail” following the revelation that the takeaway’s private pest control contract - under which a contractor would be expected to regularly visit the premises to ensure a pest-free environment - was cancelled back in 2017.
A spokesperson for the Council said: "This case showed extremely serious breaches of food hygiene standards and it was lucky that customers weren’t made ill from food prepared under these conditions. The case demonstrates that this Council will not hesitate to take firm action to protect residents and visitors."
It was added that: "People should have confidence when eating out or buying food in the Borough that cases such as these are rare."
Following a recent inspection in September this year, the premises was awarded a ‘3 star’ food rating meaning that hygiene standards are now generally satisfactory but the Council will continue to monitor.
The Council's food safety team, which on this occasion was supported by colleagues from neighbouring Blaby District Council, work closely with food outlets across the Borough. People can check out food hygiene ratings on the Food Standards Agency website at www.ratings.food.gov.uk.