The owner of a Plymouth, U.K. takeaway has been banned for life from serving food to the public after admitting selling a pizza contaminated with poisoned mouse droppings.
Judge Paul Darlow told Pervez Alvi (right, Plymouth Herald), "I would dearly like to hit you in the pocket" after hearing that investigating the case had cost Plymouth City Council more than £5,400.
But he imposed what he called "token costs" of £500 because of the "terrible" state of Alvi’s finances.
Prosecutor Julia Cox told Plymouth Crown Court that on March 20, 2010, a woman bought a pizza from Favourite Pizza as a treat for her son, who had just come out of hospital.
But as they ate it, they noticed "a strange chemical taste", which turned out to be caused by mouse droppings containing rodent poison.
The woman phoned the shop and Alvi called to see her, commenting: "At least you didn’t eat all of it."
He offered her £30 for the return of the pizza, but she refused and called Environmental Health.
Blue-green pellet-shaped objects in the pizza base were found to be mouse-droppings.
Inspectors attended the premises and immediately found mouse excrement in many areas, including on packaging materials and baking trays.
They also found gnawed cardboard and a hole in the skirting, while paperwork was incomplete.
He was told to clean and disinfect the premises and employ a pest controller, and next day things had greatly improved.
But a later visit found cracked tiles, a dirty hob and floor, and more mouse droppings under stainless-steel food-preparation surfaces and near a food chiller.