THE owner of a Redditch takeaway, which had a mouse infestation in a rear storeroom, has been fined more than £2,500.

On Thursday, November 12, at Redditch Magistrates Court, Mohammed Iqbal, of Dilshad Balti, Evesham Road pleaded guilty to five offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) regulations 2013.

The offences related to a storeroom and included failing to ensure the premises were kept clean, failing to protect food against contamination and failing to have in place adequate procedures to control pests.

Environmental Health officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) visited the Dilshad Balti takeaway in October 2014 to carry out a routine check. At that time there were found to be inadequate food safety management systems in place and Mr Iqbal was given advice on how to deal with the issues identified.

As part of the follow up checks officers returned to the premises on January 6 2015 and during the inspection discovered a mouse infestation in a rear storeroom which contained food stuffs.

Officers found mouse droppings throughout, on the floor, shelving units both low and high level, on top of food containers, packets and tins of food. An unopened bag of rodent poison was found on one of the food storage shelves, the bag had been chewed through by mice, spilling the loose poison onto the shelf and the shelf below.

Because of the imminent risk to public health the storeroom was voluntarily closed by the owner.

Mr Iqbal immediately instructed a pest control contractor and the infestation was brought under control within a few days.

Mr Iqbal, aged 58, was fined £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £100 was ordered. A contribution to the prosecution costs was also made in the sum of £1,500.

In mitigation Mr Iqbal said he had been in business for many years and had not encountered problems previously. He confirmed that he had now put in place procedures to ensure there were no further problems and the business is now rated FHRS Level 3 (satisfactory).

WRS joint committee chairman Councillor Bronwen Behan, said: “Our officers work hard to support our food businesses and we will always take action against premises which are badly managed and present a risk to public health.

“The level of fines the magistrates imposed should be a warning to all businesses that such offences will not be taken lightly.

“I am pleased that Mr Iqbal has continued to work with our officers and many improvements have been made to his business and he attended a recent training seminar in Redditch for Indian restaurants and takeaways."