A shopkeeper has been fined thousands of pounds and had his business closed down after bite marks and poo from “sweet-toothed” rats were found on chocolate bars being sold on the shelves.

Sooriyakumar Tharmalingam, the owner of TSK Cash and Carry, in Alexandra Avenue, Rayners Lane, was ordered to pay nearly £5,000 after a surprise inspection by Harrow Council revealed “sickening” conditions in his shop.

Rodents were able to help themselves to food by getting through gaps in the ceiling, doors and floors and the place was so “filthy” that the vermin could potentially nest inside the shop.

Excrement and urine were also found on chocolate bars that were still on sale on the shelves.

During the inspection, frantic attempts were made by workers to clear up the place but inspectors still called for the immediate closure of the shop.

Simon Baxter, divisional director for environment and culture said: “The thought of taking a bite out of your favourite chocolate bar that’s smothered in rat excrement makes me feel sick.

“It makes me so angry that criminals can make money by endangering public health like this. We busted Tharmalingam and now his business is finished.

“We’ll do the same to anyone else we find playing games with people’s safety.”

TSK Cash and Carry were unvailable for comment.