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National retailer fined for mice infestation

Published Tuesday, 14 April 2015

99p Stores have been ordered to pay out more than £8,000 in fines and costs after Enfield Council found packets of food for sale which had been urinated on and gnawed by mice just days before Christmas.

The owners of the store in London Road, Enfield, were fined £7,000 ordered to pay costs of £1,861.12 and a £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to two offences under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations, 2006 at Tottenham Magistrates’ Court on 2 April.

The court heard that the shop was visited by Enfield Council’s Environmental Health Officers on 23 December 2013 after a member of the public complained that they had spotted rodent damaged biscuits on sale in the shop.

Officers found packets of biscuits which had been gnawed by mice, a pack of Cadburys Turkish Delight with chew marks from a mouse on it and more packets of food which smelled of urine, there were also mouse droppings under the shelves of the biscuit, pretzels, cake, cereal and crisp aisles. Droppings were also found in the food storage area on the first floor of the building.

The court heard that remedial action taken by 99p Stores meant that a full clean and disinfect of the affected areas had been completed by 24 December 2013 and no further sign of mouse infestation had been found.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment & Community Safety, Cllr Chris Bond, said: “These hygiene failings posed a serious risk to the health of the general public and we had no option other than to prosecute for what were significant failings to control an infestation of mice.

“While I’m pleased that the company took swift action to address the problems we identified, I find it difficult to understand why a national retailer would allow urine stained packets of food to be sold to customers in the run up to Christmas. It is completely unacceptable and I hope the level of fine imposed encourages all retailers to take food hygiene seriously.”

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