Wed, 20 Jan 2021
MOUSE excrement was found in packets of sweets offered for sale at a village store.
And on Friday, January 8, the owner of Chieveley Village Stores and Post Office was brought before Reading magistrates to answer for a string of hygiene contraventions.
In the dock was 54-year-old Hiren ‘Harry’ Patel of Bridle Path, Woodcote.
He pleaded guilty to five offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
The court heard that inspectors sent by West Berkshire Council found packets of sweets offered for sale which had been gnawed by rodents and which contained mouse droppings.
In addition, the court heard, Mr Patel failed to ensure that all articles, fittings and equipment with which food comes into contact were effectively cleaned and, where necessary, disinfected at a frequency sufficient to avoid any risk of contamination.
Mr Patel also admitted failing to ensure that food premises were kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition; failing to use adequate procedures to control pests and failing to ensure that food handlers were supervised and instructed or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activity.
All the charges arose from a site visit by inspectors on October 2, 2019.
A further five charges, including one involving lack of pest control and another of failing to ensure the protection of food from contamination likely to render it unfit for human consumption or injurious to health, were withdrawn.
Magistrates made Mr Patel, who was legally represented at the hearing, subject to a 12-month conditional discharge.
In addition, he was ordered to pay £1,247.60 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £21.
The village stores and post office had been closed for four years when Mr Patel took on the business in 2011.
The post office, which, along with the first Chieveley telephone exchange, was situated in the shop, has moved home several times.
However, it has always been within 200 yards of its present site.
It returned to the shop in 1974 and has been there ever since.