FILTHY CAFE PUT DINERS AT RISK.
THE owner of a cafe that was littered with mouse droppings has been fined for breaking food safety rules.
Sakindar Ali admitted five counts of contravening food regulations when he appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court yesterday.
Chris Howrie, prosecuting on behalf of Birmingham City Council, said the authority's environmental health officers were horrified by the filth and mouse droppings they discovered during an inspection of Chicken Hut, in Stratford Road, Sparkhill.
"Mouse droppings were found throughout the premises, including inside and on takeaway food packaging," she said.
"Some takeaway boxes showed signs of being gnawed by mice, while droppings were also found among sesame seeds in a drawer which had been used to hold bread rolls topped with sesame seeds.
"Droppings were also found on shelves holding sauce bottles, on a till roll next to food bags, behind the microwave and behind a chest freezer in an area off the kitchen.
"A dead fly was also found near takeaway boxes on top of the hot food display cabinet and a mouse hole was found in the skirting in the corner, near bins used to dispose of fat."
Ms Howrie said the officers also found lettuce stored next to raw chicken, putting consumers at risk of food poisoning.
She said officers shut the premises down and ordered a major clean-up. They returned four days later to find fresh mouse droppings dotted throughout the shop.
The following day the business was reopened once pest controllers had been hired to deal with the issue.
Zahid Khan, defending, said Ali had run the cafe for nine years and, at the time of the incident, could not attend the shop regularly as he was ill.
"My client hired a manager and a cleaner but clearly they had been totally incompetent and were not keeping on top of hygiene levels," said Mr Khan. "He has now taken on three new staff and only allows the premises to open when he is there to oversee what is being done."
Ali, 44, of Lyons Grove, Sparkhill, was fined pounds 7,500 and ordered to pay pounds 1,195.20 costs and a pounds 15 victim surcharge.