Owners of a shop have been ordered to pay over £10,000 after inspectors found two packs of hot dogs that had been gnawed by rats next to piles of rat droppings.

Samy Ltd was ordered to pay a total of £10,750 in court after admitting three charges of food regulation at Teesside Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (April 9). 

 In previous appearances, the court heard that the company had put two packs of hot dogs on the shelves for customers at Budgens store on Premier Parade, Stockton, despite them having gnaw marks from rodents on them. 

Darlington and Stockton Times: The hot dogs that were gnawed by rodentsThe hot dogs that were gnawed by rodents (Image: STOCKTON COUNCIL)

During an inspection, rat droppings were also found and several other health and safety regulations were broken, including keeping the kitchen cleanly and hygienically and the way the company prevented rodent infestations. 

In court, Samy Ltd previously admitted to the charge of "placing food on the market that was unsafe because of making available for sale two packets of 8 x 90g Rollover beechwood smoked hotdogs, that had been heavily gnawed and partially eaten by rodents."

The charges relate to the incident, which took place on September 8, 2022.

The firm, who have Corporation Road, Middlesbrough, listed as their business address also admitted two offences of failing to comply with food safety and hygiene regulations - also linked to September 8, 2022.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Budgens store on Premier Parade, StocktonBudgens store on Premier Parade, Stockton (Image: LDR)

It was confirmed that the second charge related to "failing to put adequate procedures in place to control pests in that evidence was obtained of rodent activity within the kitchen where food was being prepared, handled and stored, namely rat droppings on the floor and behind equipment, rodent smear marks on the wall and rodent damaged stock and packaging."

Meanwhile, the third charge related to: "failing to keep premises, namely the kitchen, clean and maintained in good repair and condition, in that the structure in the food preparation area was not kept clean and in a good state of repair as there were rodent droppings on the floor of the premises."

Samy Ltd admitted all three of the charges against it in previous court cases and was sentenced on April 9.

The firm was fined £6,000. The prosecution was awarded costs of £2,750 plus a victim surcharge of £2,000; bringing a total of £10,750.

Following sentencing, Carolyn Nice, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Director of Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: “All food business operators have a legal responsibility to ensure their food is hygienically prepared and stored safely.

“Unfortunately the level of hygiene at Budgens by the food business operator, Samy Ltd, was unacceptable and the presence of rodents at the site put their customers at risk.

“The Council’s Environmental Health Officers make every effort to help and educate local businesses but on this occasion, the conditions found at the premises and risk to the public meant we had no choice but to bring them before the courts.

“Members of the public should feel confident that food has been prepared safely and that’s why we work closely with food business operators to help them maintain good hygiene standards. Anyone with concerns about a food business should contact Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council on 01642 526569.”