Tesco fined over massive mouse in London store



Tesco has been fined £45,000 for a number of failings at its Covent Garden store. Amongst the grimmest of the discoveries awaiting council health inspectors was an enormous mouse, which had grown to twice the size of a normal mouse after stuffing itself with meat in the shop.

So is this the biggest fine for pest problems in recent years?


Southwark Crown Court ruled that Tesco would have to pay this fine - plus £12,000 costs - for a number of health breaches.

According to the Independent, the store had failed three inspections. The first was in March last year, after customers had reported that they saw live mice running around the shop. The second was a few days later after another complaint - when they discovered that the store had not been properly cleaned.

The Daily Mail reported that in the latest inspection council officials also found three other mice in a crate of meat, and the floor littered with mouse droppings. They said that staff had not fixed loose tiles, pipes and doors, so mice could easy get into food crates. They shut the store for 13 days.

Tesco apologised, and said the manager had been replaced and staff had been retrained.

How does it compare?

This is the largest fine to hit the headlines for years. The case was initially heard in the Magistrate's Court. However, because the maximum fine at this level is £30,000 they sent it to the Crown Court for sentencing.

Because most other cases remain with the magistrates, fines stay below £30,000. But here are some of the largest:

In February 2009, Chester's Chicken and Pizza, on Coy Nook in Blackburn was fined £27,000 after an inspection found 126 cockroaches in the kitchen - including two dead ones stuck to the door seal of the fridge.

In April 2010, the owner of the Kashmir King takeaway in Whalley Range, Manchester was fined £25,000 for a number of offences, including a mouse infestation, filthy toilets and dangerous electrics.

Last summer we reported on the Poundland store in Croydon which was fined £24,000 for food hygiene problems - including the fact it sold packets of biscuits that had been nibbled by mice.

In December last year it was the owner of the New Chutney Express in Tooting, South London, who was fined £20,000 for a string of hygiene offences, including a rat infestation. He even battered a rat to death in front of inspectors.

In January 2010 the former owners of the Golden Palace Chinese restaurant in Beelleek, Fermanagh were fined £10,000 for a number of failures, including raw chicken defrosting in a filthy sink, dirty cookers, and poor washing facilities. Swabs sent for testing contained e.coli and salmonella.

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