United Kingdom

27 mice are found inside Chinese restaurant in as owner is charged with breaching hygiene standards 

A pest control company found 27 mice inside a Chinese restaurant and their droppings all over the kitchen after a member of the public raised the alarm.

Health inspectors declared Chung Ku, in Liverpool, posed an 'imminent risk to health' after a visit to the restaurant in August, 2019.

A dead rodent was found on a counter used to prepare food and droppings were found on bags of sugar, the cookers and on shelving and it was given a food hygiene rating of zero.

After their visit the restaurant was closed voluntarily by its owner, Dove Ross-Williams, for two weeks, during which time a pest control company found an extensive rodent infestation.

A health inspector found a dead mouse in the kitchen at Chung Ku in Liverpool

Dove Ross-Williams, the owner of Chung Ku, voluntarily closed for two weeks after the inspection and its food hygiene rating rose from zero to three

Ross-Williams, 57, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court this morning after Liverpool City Council brought a prosecution based on their findings.

John Ball, prosecuting, said there was an inspection following a complaint from a member of the public 'relating to mouse activity'.

He said: 'Droppings can be seen in a number of locations, most notably under the refrigerator.

'They also discovered a dead mouse underneath one of the food preparation counters.'

He told the court there was also a 'lack of routine cleaning'.

Rodent droppings were found in the kitchen, including these shelves used to hold food

More droppings were discovered on the floor of the kitchen, with pest controllers later finding 27 mice in the restuarant

The remains of the dead mouse can be seen in pictures taken by Liverpool City Council at the restaurant 

Vicky Balenski, defending, said: 'Mr Ross-Williams has engaged with the council when the health inspectors attended.'

'Mr Ross-Williams took over the restaurant in January 2019. This is the first time he has ever been involved in the restaurant business.'

'It became clear the then current pest controllers weren't dealing with the problem adequately. There was a meeting between Mr Ross-Williams and a number of members of staff, the manager and the assistant head chef.

'As a result of those conversations the contract with the then current pest controllers was terminated and the manager and assistant head chef resigned.'

'Whilst it was known there was an issue the parties were doing everything they could and making changes to try and address the problem.'

District Judge described the infestation as a 'very obvious problem' at today's hearing in Liverpool

The view of the ground in the kitchen of Chung Ku, Liverpool, during an inspection

'He was doing the best he could and did take steps to address it..'

District Judge James Clarke, sentencing, said that there was a 'very obvious' problem which had required 'active engagement'.

'A degree of risk was taken here to be aware of the problem and to continue to trade at the time when effectively closure was what was required.'

Ross-Williams was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £3050.

A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: 'In August 2019 a member of the public complained to the Environmental Health Service at the City Council about rodent activity within the dining room at the premises.

'An unannounced food hygiene inspection was carried out by an Environmental Health Officer in order to investigate the complaint and to carry out an inspection.

'During the 16th August 2019 inspection, a dead mouse was found beneath catering equipment in the restaurants kitchen and mouse droppings were found on food preparation surfaces next to catering equipment and crockery, mouse droppings were found on floor surfaces under cooking equipment and fridge/freezers.

'The kitchen was unclean with a build-up of food debris and grease which provided a food source for pests.

'There were gaps and holes in the wall and floor surfaces which provided rodents with access/entry points.

'Conditions were so unsatisfactory that the kitchen was shut down because it presented an 'imminent risk to health'.

'After the restaurant carried out remedial works the EHO revisited on the 28 th August 2019 and agreed that kitchens could reopen.'

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