IN PICTURES: Children's play centre owners from Hemel fined £11k for food hygiene offences
A children's play centre has been fined over £11,000 for a string of food hygiene offences including dead mice.
The owners of Kidd N Play children's centre, from Hemel Hempstead, were sentenced at Luton Magistrates Court on Monday for a series of food hygiene offences, putting youngsters at risk.
Company directors Martin Chimoke, 46, and Kate Chimoke, 40, of Camberwell Place, both pleaded guilty.
In June 2018 a food safety officer carried out an inspection of Kidd N Play in The Galaxy, Luton, and found evidence of mouse activity, as well as poor standards of cleanliness, structure and hygiene.
Mouse droppings were found in the food preparation, food servery and dining areas, and mouse droppings were also found in the soft play area, where young babies and children crawl and play.
A dead mouse was found in the bottom of a drinks chiller and there was no evidence of a pest control contract in place.
The premises was closed immediately using Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Powers to stop the food business operations, and a health and safety prohibition notice to prohibit the use of the soft play area until the health risk condition was removed.
Kidd N Play is typically frequented by babies, young toddlers and children who crawl and climb on the floor, mats and over soft play equipment.
These children then sit at high chairs and tables and can eat food and drink prepared and produced on site for consumption.
Mice urinate and defecate on surfaces and equipment and carry disease. Evidence suggested mouse activity had been prevalent throughout the entire premises.
The limited company was fined £11,357 and Mr Chimoke was fined £1,132.
Mrs Chimoke was given conditional discharge for 1 year for the health and safety offence, and ordered to pay a surcharge of £20 and £186 costs.
Laura Church, corporate director of place and infrastructure said: “To operate a business where babies and children are encouraged to play, whilst knowingly allowing mouse activity to occur, and to have poor standards of cleaning and hygiene in both the kitchen, eating and play areas is absolutely inexcusable.
"We hope this prosecution reinforces our commitment to protecting residents and making sure that food businesses are operating within the law.’’