Health inspectors found rotting rat corpse inside 'popular' patisserie and raw sewage leaking into yardBonne Bouche in central London was infested with rats, council officers foundA decaying rat corpse was found in the ceiling and droppings covered foodOwner fined 2,000 and ordered to pay 1,573 costs
17:21 GMT, 13 December 2012
Health inspectors found raw sewage leaking into the yard of a rat-infested patisserie, a court heard.
Bonne Bouche, a 'popular lunchtime destination', in Victoria, central London. was raided by Westminster City Council after complaints last year.
Rats were nesting in the kitchen, droppings were sprinkled over ready-to-eat food and the body of a decaying rat was found in the ceiling.
Filth: This picture shows rat droppings, urine and nesting material underneath a display cabinet on the shop floor at Bonne Bouche
Vile: A decomposed rat found inside a suspended ceiling at Bonne Bouche
Prosecutor Alastair Smith said: 'Inspectors started off in the rear yard area where they found a quite clear smell of urine and the musty smell often associated with rats.
'At the back of the premises, on adjoining land, there was a disused WC, with an open pipe overflowing with toilet paper and rat droppings.
'It appeared sewage and rats had come up through the pipe.
'In a cupboard used to store ready-to-eat food inspectors found bread gnawed by rodents and rat and mouse droppings.
Rats: Gnawed bread rolls and polystyrene tubing underneath a display cabinet on the shop floor at Bonne Bouche
'There was a strong smell of urine in units under the cake display unit, indicating the rodents were nesting very close to the food.
'The manager was aware that rat droppings could be found under the ceiling panels, and when he moved them to show inspectors, they saw droppings fall onto equipment used to prepare food.
'When they looked under the ceiling panels, they discovered not only a large number of rat droppings but also a dead and decaying rat.
'In light of what they saw, they concluded there was a risk to public health caused by a large rat infestation'
The patisserie was closed after the inspection on November 29 last year, but was allowed to open again after significant renovation work was carried out.
As well as rats (right, file picture), health inspectors found raw sewage leaking into the yard of the 'popular lunchtime destination' (left)
Photos of the droppings strewn across the premises were shown to District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe at Westminster Magistrates' Court.
The firm's manager, Rolf Biller, appeared in court to plead guilty to four food hygiene offences on behalf of the company.
He said: 'I am guilty, but I hope any fine is the minimum, we are a small business and times are not easy.
'I cleaned the yard regularly, but it is a community problem, and with everyone throwing their rubbish out in the open, we were fighting a losing battle.'
Imposing a 2,000 fine, plus 1,573.03 costs and a 15 victim surcharge, District Judge Roscoe said: 'It appears to me that all these offences are aspects of one quite substantial infestation of rats and mice.'
This picture was taken under the front display in the patisserie. There are gaps around the piping that lead to the basement and open trays of rodent poison
Rodents: Rats have gnawed bread behind the stand fridge in the kitchen in this image
Cllr Tony Devenish, cabinet member for licensing and public health at Westminster City Council, said: 'Our chief objective is always to protect the consumer, and we take this legal responsibility seriously.
'These disgusting pictures show problems within this particular establishment, but the council will try and work with the owners to make sure that standards are improved significantly.
'We don't want to tell people how to live their lives but paying customers deserve to know that their food is safe.'