A STORE specialising in imported foods has been fined after breaching hygiene conditions and causing unnecessary suffering to animals after it was infested by rats.

Asian African Foods, trading as Krishna Cash & Carry, was sentenced at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court.

Director Santhirasegaram Ketheeswaran admitted five breaches of hygiene regulations, causing unnecessary suffering to rodents and failing to comply with a health and safety improvement notice.

The court was told the council’s food and health and safety team made an unannounced visit to the food business on the Uxbridge Road, Hayes, in June 2022 following complaints from customers about the unhygienic storage of food.

The team discovered dirt, food debris, flies and rat droppings, while the structure was in such disrepair that multiple holes allowed rats to freely enter. 

Inspectors found a dead rat beneath a pallet of rice bags and in the rear stock room an emaciated rat was found barely alive while stuck to a glueboard.

It was next to another dead rat, indicating the boards were not being checked regularly.

The court heard Krishna Cash & Carry had a history of pest problems.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: "While the council is committed to creating a borough where residents feel safe and can live healthy lives, this horrifying case serves to show not everyone has the same duty of care.

“For a business serving the public to willingly allow the conditions to deteriorate to such an extent and then failing to check their method of pest control is difficult to comprehend.”

For the five hygiene offences, relating to pest control, food storage and cleanliness, Asian African Foods Ltd was fined £60,000 (£12,000 on each count). For the animal welfare offence, there was an additional fine of £5,000.

For failing to comply with the terms of the health & safety improvement notice, there was a further fine of £1,000.

Asian African Foods was also ordered to pay the council's costs of £11,296.75 and a victim surcharge of £190.