BOSSES of a takeaway in Lower Gornal have been fined after health inspectors discovered a rat infestation in the kitchen.

Rat droppings were found on shelving in the kitchen, under the cooking range and behind refrigerators at Spices in Zoar Street when Dudley Council environmental health officers carried out an inspection of the takeaway in September 2018.

Spices Indian Takeaway Ltd, the proprietors of Spices in Zoar Street, pleaded guilty to three offences under food hygiene regulations at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on October 31.

After the inspection an emergency closure notice was served and the takeaway remained closed for eight days while it was dealt with.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to keep the premises clean, failing to protect food from a risk of contamination and failing to implement adequate procedures to control pests.

The court imposed a fine of £400 and ordered the company to pay £917 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

A food hygiene rating of zero out of five was given following the inspection, although the takeaway is now achieving a good rating of four out of five.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member responsible for environmental health and trading standards, said: "The public have a right to expect the takeaways from where they buy food do not put their health at risk. A pest infestation in a food business can pose a serious risk to health and it was therefore necessary to prevent this business operating while remedial works were undertaken.

"It is right the company has now been held to account for the most unsatisfactory conditions found by our inspectors.

"We much prefer to work with businesses to secure compliance with the law, but we will not hesitate to take legal action against the minority of food business owners who fail to meet their legal responsibilities and put the health of the public at risk.

"Nearly half of all food outlets in the borough are achieving the top hygiene rating of five and the vast majority achieve a satisfactory rating of three or more.

"I would urge consumers to check out hygiene ratings online as these will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop.

"Dudley Council environmental health officers carry out regular inspections of food premises in the borough to advise food business owners and ensure they meet all food safety and hygiene requirements."