A company has been ordered to pay more than £90,000 after dead mice were discovered in a Preston shop.
One Stop Stores Ltd - a subsidiary of Tesco - was given an £80,000 fine plus costs of £11,776.60, for breaching food hygiene rules in its Ribbleton Avenue shop.
Eight dead mice on glue boards and snap traps across the store were discovered by an environmental health officer, during an unannounced inspection on December 1, 2014.
Preston Crown Court also heard mouse droppings were present on the floor and shelving, and some crisp packets had been nibbled open and the contents eaten.
Craig Sharp, head of environmental health at Preston Council, said: “Every shop, large or small has to deal with the problem of mice.
“Responsible traders plan for it and deal with a problem quickly and effectively if it arises.
“While the company acted swiftly to deal with the problem following the visit on December 1, it was subsequently discovered that the store had had problems with mice, intermittently, since at least 2013.
“Mice carry a range of bacteria and viruses and the risk to pregnant women and immunosuppressed individuals in particular, has potentially serious consequences.
“I hope that this case will serve as a warning to other food businesses that robust procedures need to be in place and actively monitored to ensure the public are protected.”
The shop was served with a hygiene emergency prohibition notice, closing the shop with immediate effect, following the discovery in December 2014.
When officers returned, they were satisfied work to clean the shop has been carried out and the shop was allowed to reopen.
One Stop Stores Ltd pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court in January to two offences – adequate procedures were not in place to control pests and food was placed on the market that was unsafe.
The case was committed to crown court for sentencing.
A One Stop spokesman said: “There’s nothing more important than the safety and cleanliness of our stores.
“We acted quickly to resolve the issue and have apologised to customers.
“We have put in place measures to make sure this does not happen again, including replacing our pest control company and retraining colleagues where necessary.”