Khera’s Mini Market and Off Licence, in Brompton
A decomposing mouse found on a shop shelf was put there by a rival business, the owner has claimed.
Perna Rai, who runs an off-licence in Brompton, Chatham, said she had been set up when she appeared before Medway Magistrates' Court.
Medway Council had applied to the court for a hygiene emergency prohibition order after discovering the shop was "a risk to public health".
Khera's Mini Market and Off Licence, now re-opened, had been closed since August 23 after hygiene inspectors found an "active and uncontrolled mouse infestation".
Mrs Rai said the incident was "regrettable", but claimed the problems had been caused by other businesses in the area.
She told magistrates: "I have been the leaseholder of my business for a number of years and have not encountered any environmental issues.
"I have always kept a clean and tidy shop, but the café next door has a very untidy garden full of refuse – a breeding ground of vermin and infestation.
"It is unusual to find a mouse on a shelf as they are meant to die in corners. This has been set up by my competition. Trade in the high street is very intense and difficult."
The court heard inspectors were hit by a "heavy smell" of mice as they walked into the High Street shop and discovered droppings, urine and gnawed food packaging.
Khera’s Mini Market, closed by environmental hygiene inspectors, has now been reopened
An environmental health officer told the court said: "As I moved through some of the shelving I found a dead and decomposing mouse in between the packaging.
"It had been there for a while as it was decomposing. It is a risk to public health.
"It is unusual to find a mouse on a shelf as they are meant to die in corners. This has been set up by my competition..." - owner Perna Rai
"The owners had put some poison down instead of using a proper contractor.
"Mice spread the poison as they eat it and can contaminate food. It is a sort of poison like morphine that thins the blood and if you ingest it you can have internal bleeding and have to go to the hospital."
Inspectors also found the shop had no hot water to clean the premises.
On the same day the council was granted the hygiene emergency prohibition notice, inspectors re-visited the shop and decided it was allowed to re-open, having dealt with the infestation.
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