25th Oct, 2016

Vale business fined after rats droppings found

Evesham Editorial 9th Jul, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

AN EVESHAM businessman and his company have been ordered to pay nearly £6,000 in fines and charges after rats’ droppings were found in a food storage area.

Damon Sidor and his company, DB Sidor Limited, Sidor Meat – of Birmingham Road, Blackminster, Evesham – pleaded guilty to ten charges each of breaking food and hygiene regulations at the Bartus European Delicatessen at 41 The Tything, Worcester.

Sidor, of Common Road, Evesham, and the company appeared before Worcester Magistrates on July 2 to face charges brought by Worcester City Council.

Magistrates heard that officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services, acting on behalf of the city council, visited the delicatessen on June 11, 2014 and found an outbuilding being used for food storage had rodent droppings on the floor and shelving. There was also an odour of dead rodents in the building.

Sidor told officers the building was only temporarily being used for food storage while a new outbuilding was being built.

Officers ensured the vulnerable food in the building was destroyed and ordered Sidor to take steps to ensure rats could not enter the building.

When officers returned on June 16, they found further evidence of rat and fly infestations in the outbuilding, which was still being used for some storage.

Cartons of milk, juice and children’s drinks had been gnawed and were leaking. At this stage, Sidor was served with a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice, preventing the use of the building for any storage.

All food had been removed from the outbuilding by the time of a follow-up visit on June 18 and a report on July 14 confirmed there was no rat activity in the building.

On September 23, 2014 officers revisited the delicatessen and found the new outbuilding was in use, but the door was open and next to an open drain without a cover.

Vulnerably-packaged and ready-to-eat food was being stored on the floor and there were gaping holes in walls, potentially giving easy access for rats – although there was no evidence of any pests at the time of the visit.

Sidor was served with a Hygiene Improvement Notice, forbidding use of the new outbuilding until it was properly proofed against rodents. A subsequent check confirmed the notice had been complied with.

In court, Sidor and his company each faced ten charges of failing to comply with Sections 19 and 20 of the Food and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 on the dates of the three inspections in 2014.

The charges concerned failures to ensure the premises were clean; to store food safely in order to prevent contamination; to prepare food so that it was fit for human consumption; and to put pest control measures in place.

Sidor’s solicitor told magistrates that his client had left the day-to-day running of the delicatessen to his store manager and staff.

Magistrates heard that Sidor and DB Sidor Ltd have since sold the delicatessen.

Sidor and DB Sidor Ltd were each fined £150 for each of the ten offences. Each defendant was also ordered to pay victim surcharges of £120 and costs of £1,294, meaning a total bill of £5,828.