A branch of Tesco which was infested with a super mouse which was blamed by Christian Voice on the company’s support for gay pride, has been fined £45,000 for the rodent infestation.
Tesco was charged £57,000 in court bills and fines on Monday, after the “super mouse” was discovered in a dirty shop which was infested with rodents.
In July the store pleaded guilty to six food hygiene offences in court, but Christian Voice’s national director Stephen Green attributed it to the management’s support of LGBT rights.
Mr Green told PinkNews: “It is symptomatic of the bad management of Tesco. Any company which announces its support for gay pride six weeks before Christmas obviously can’t operate basic pest control.”
The giant mouse, which was larger than average because it had been eating protein and leaving pink droppings in food crates, was found in the Covent Garden branch of Tesco, where 55,000 people shop every week.
The court heard that rotting rodent corpses were found in dairy fridges in the store’s warehouse, which gave off an “unbearable” smell and caused a “large risk of contamination” to food.
Mouse droppings were found on the shop floor, and on bakery packaging. As well as the rodent infestation, food waste was discovered across the store’s warehouse and storage areas, and the floors were covered with grease and dirt.
Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith ordered Tesco to pay £45,000 in fines, and £11,822 in costs at Southwark Crown Court. The judge said: “One might have expected the company to react vigorously but it did not.
“Nothing happened over the weekend and when officers returned the following Monday, a further complaint was made by a member of the public and the situation was the same if not worse.
“It is remarkable that something like this should occur within an organisation such as Tesco, which has to be so careful with it’s reputation. But I am satisfied this was a local and specified failure of management and one that has been dealt with.”
Westminster City Council was alerted in March 2012 of the rodent infestation by customers.
In a statment, Tesco said: “Pest control is one of our biggest priorities and we regret the pest problem was not resolved more quickly.”
James Armitage, Westminster City Council’s Food Safety manager, said: “The sentence recognises the seriousness of what was a flagrant breach of food safety laws. It doesn’t matter if it is a sole trader or a large superstore, the rules are the same.”