Mouse droppings were found in the kitchen, storeroom and basement of Sayers-owned Poundcafe in Liverpool’s St Johns Shopping Centre.
A dead mouse was also found behind a freezer. Staff could only wash their hands in one wash basin – which was full of equipment, Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard.
A customer alerted the council’s environmental health team on February 12 2016, said prosecutor Johnathan Ball.
‘Food preparation must stop with immediate effect’
“Officers were clearly concerned by the nature of the referral and decided to visit the premises that day,” Ball told the court, according to the Liverpool Echo. “The manager on site at the time was informed that all food preparation must stop with immediate effect.”
Sayers blamed the infestation on construction work, which took place early last year. It claimed it was an isolated incident, and would appeal against the level of the fine.
A Poundcafe spokeswoman said: “Poundcafe in St Johns Shopping Centre, like many other businesses in Liverpool City Centre, was unfortunately affected by the considerable amount of construction work taking place late 2015, early 2016. This gave us challenges in relation to mouse infestation as their normal nests were disturbed.
“Health and hygiene is our top priority and this is the first time we have ever been charged with such an offence. We have now invited Liverpool City Council to re-inspect the shop to back up our thorough audit results.”
A risk to public health
Liverpool City Council said it would not accept food hygiene breaches, especially those that posed a risk to public health.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods Steve Munby said: “This is one of Liverpool’s biggest food hygiene fines to date and highlights the seriousness of the charges.
“Our environmental health team do incredible work across the city so that residents and visitors can, rightly so, expect the highest possible standards when they visit any food outlet.”
Meanwhile, the owner of a halal butchery business was ordered to pay more than £7,500 for nine food safety breaches in January, after mouse droppings were found in a meat display and walk-in fridge.
Sayers cockroach and mouse infestation – at a glance
- Fined more than £160,000
- Mouse droppings found in kitchen, storeroom and basement
- Sayers-owned Poundbakery blamed infestation on construction work