Mouse seen running in flour at cafe

A cafe has been shut after environmental health officers found a live mouse in a flour container.

Staff from Leicester City Council’s food safety team immediately closed St Stephens Cafe, in Highfields, Leicester, during their visit on Thursday.

Environmental health officer Alison Cadmore told Leicester magistrates yesterday she and a colleague visited the premises, in St Stephens Road, on a routine inspection.

She said: “I noticed a storage container with the lid partly off. The container was used for the storage of flour.

“I lifted the lid and saw a mouse running around.

“I noticed mouse droppings on the worktop behind the microwave, near the till and inside the hot cupboard where open samosas were on display to customers.”

Ms Cadmore said when she revisited the cafe yesterday, pest control workers told her they had seen five live mice and found a dead one in a vacuum cleaner.

She outlined the inspections in an application to the court for a prohibition order to keep the cafe closed until the mouse infestation had been eradicated.

“Mice carry a range of diseases that can be passed to humans,” said Ms Cadmore.

“There was a significant risk of food being contaminated with harmful bacteria.”

Nicki Agalamanyi, prosecuting on behalf of the city council, said the business presented an imminent risk to public health. She said: “Quite apart from the extensive mouse problem on May 30, the kitchens were in a filthy state.

“There were three waste bins which were full to capacity and one in the kitchen was overflowing on to the floor.”

Abdullahi Abdi, the food business operator at the cafe, told the court he did not agree the cafe posed a risk to public health.

He said: “The cafe is clean now.

“After the first visit, we worked day and night for three days to clean it.

“It is not easy to keep the cafe clean during the day when customers are dropping food on to the floor as they eat.”

District judge Tim Daber said although improvements had been made, he was in no doubt the cafe still posed a substantial risk to public health and granted the prohibition order.

It means the cafe must stay shut until inspectors are sure it no longer poses a risk to public health.

The judge ordered Mr Abdi to pay costs of £671.50.

After the hearing, Ms Cadmore said she would visit the cafe tomorrow for another inspection.

Also after the hearing, Mr Abdi said: “All I am trying to do is run a business.”

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