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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 18:03 GMT
Starbucks fined for mice in cafe
Starbucks, Villiers Street
There were inadequate pest control procedures at the branch
Coffee giant Starbucks has been fined 12,000 after one of its branches was found to be infested with mice.

Mouse droppings were found next to spoons, knives and cups at the Charing Cross branch in London, City of Westminster magistrates heard.

The court heard an environmental health officer was hit by a "strong smell of mice" and recurring scenes of filth, mice droppings and stainings.

The chain pleaded guilty to four counts of food safety and hygiene breaches.

Management failures

Westminster City Council decided to prosecute after inspecting the state of two storerooms and a serving area at the cafe in Villiers Street in the West End.

Deputy district judge Paul Southern said: "The management fell short of what was required of them.

"It is quite clear to me there was a lamentable failure by management of Starbucks UK which led to a totally unacceptable state of affairs."

He fined the chain 3,000 on each count and ordered it to pay 2,832 in costs.

Starbucks has more than 530 stores and 8,000 partners in the UK.

Greasy smears

The store was inspected in November last year by an environment health officer with 17 years experience.

A combined office and store room had a dirty floor and was untidy with cups of cold coffee and utensils lying around, the court was told.

A mousetrap in a storeroom "appeared to be weighty and may have had a mouse in it" and the rodents had left "greasy smears", Felicia Davy for Westminster Council told the court.

"Mouse droppings were secreted around the floor next to the entrance and nearby," she said.

The cafe had had 21 visits from Rentokil since January last year, and had been told how to tackle the pest problem, the court heard.

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