The owner of a convenience store and off-licence has been taken to court for the disgusting state of the store. Inspectors found mouse droppings on shelves, on the counter, and even in food.
According to the Daily Record, Tina Off-licence in Billingham, County Durham, had a mouse infestation that had been allowed to get out of control. Inspectors found a packet of pasta sauce that had been gnawed and partially eaten by rodents.
In addition, some of the food was way past its expiration date - including out of date meat. One packet of sausages was a week past its sell-by date. Overall, the place was cluttered and filthy, and there was no hot water in the staff toilets.
The Mirror reported that the district judge said that photos of the shop were some of the worst she had ever seen, and Abdul Ghafoor, a 58-year-old from Acklam, pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene offences.
This was clearly a particularly revolting example, but pest problems are nothing out of the ordinary - even among the biggest brands. In July B&M in Gorton was told to stop selling food products until a mice infestation was under control. In April, a branch of Tesco Express in Highgate was closed for a day after officers discovered a mouse infestation, and a few days ago a Greggs store in The Mall Chequers in Maidstone shut when a mouse problem was discovered.
According to the British Pest Control Association, the number of pests is at its highest for years - which isn't helped by the fact that council cuts mean that the number of councils that offer free pest control services has fallen 26% in the past four years.
It found that the London Borough of Southwark has the most mice, cockroaches and bed bugs, while Birmingham is the rat capital of the UK. Overall, Newcastle has the most pests per person - as 5% of people have reported problems with rats, cockroaches, wasps, mice or other pests. This is followed by the City of London (at 4.9%), and Knowsley in Merseyside at 3.4%.