Vale of Belvoir bakery in court over 'awful' infestation

A Vale of Belvoir baker was temporarily closed and left with a bill of over £21,000 after an investigation found its premises was infested with mice.
Photos taken by Rushcliffe Borough Council environmental health officers at Belvoir Bakery, at BarnstonePhotos taken by Rushcliffe Borough Council environmental health officers at Belvoir Bakery, at Barnstone
Photos taken by Rushcliffe Borough Council environmental health officers at Belvoir Bakery, at Barnstone

Vale Bakery Ltd, trading as Belvoir Bakery of Langar Road, at Barnstone, was found to have a severe, widespread and ongoing mouse problem which had led to contamination of food ingredients, food packaging, equipment and food contact surfaces, leaving the premises in filthy conditions.

The premises was inspected in September 2022 following complaints received by Rushcliffe Borough Council’s environmental health team.

A subsequent hearing into the matter was held at last week at Nottingham Magistrates Court.

JPs were told that despite being aware of ongoing pest activity, the food business failed to take appropriate action to prevent entry into food storage and production areas, maintain clean conditions, protect food from the risk of contamination and, ultimately, protect the public.

After the court case, Rushcliffe Borough Council’s deputy chief executive and director of neighbourhoods, Dave Banks, said: “This case showed a total disregard for the bakery’s customers and the wider public’s health as the owners were so brazen and did not take the correct measures to avoid pests entering the premises or containing them.

“The conditions of the bakery were frankly awful and we were left with no option but to close it with immediate effect, it’s sadly among the worst cases our officers can recall investigating.”

Officers found evidence which included a dead mouse, mouse droppings and urine, gnawed food packaging and containers, pest nesting materials and contaminated food ingredients.

The court heard adequate procedures were not in place to manage the risks of contamination of food ingredients by pests and the premises were found to be visibly dirty with poor standards of cleaning observed throughout.

Following the investigation, the bakery received a zero-food hygiene rating as a result of their findings. Subsequently, the business requested a rescore and was awarded a four-food hygiene rating after the introduction of measures to improve hygiene standards and has since reopened.

Vale Bakery Ltd pleaded guilty to seven counts of contravening The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and was fined £1,600, ordered to pay £19,395 costs and a victim surcharge of £640, leaving a total bill of £21,635.