A TAKEAWAY owner has been told to pay £4,000 in fines and costs after a dead rat was found in a food storage area.

The rodent was discovered when an environmental health team carried out a routine inspection and noticed “significant evidence” of rat activity.

Owner Yasar Sen, 42, appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court and admitted three food hygiene offences.

One of the charges stated that a dead rat and rat droppings had been found in a shed used to store food at the Kebab House in Station Road, New Milton.

The other two related to a bag of flour that had been gnawed by rats and the lack of adequate procedures to combat pests.

Magistrates said the business had failed to take all the necessary precautions to prevent rats entering the storage area, adding that the offences had posed a serious health risk to the public.

Sen was fined a total of £2,000, plus £2,000 costs.

A spokesman for New Forest District Council, which brought the prosecution, said, “Officers found that a shed used as a food store was not adequately pest-proofed and that there was significant evidence of rat activity.

“At the time of the visit the business voluntarily agreed to surrender food and food packaging from the shed.

“They also agreed not to keep food in the shed until it had been pest-proofed, cleaned and disinfected. This was successfully carried out within days of the visit and additional works have now been completed to further pest-proof food storage areas.”

Councillor Edward Heron, Cabinet member for the environment, said: “To allow rats into a food business is a serious offence.

“Our environmental health officers took appropriate action to protect public health and I am pleased that the owner of the Kebab House has now pest-proofed the food storage areas.”

Sen confirmedthat action had been taken since the offences were committed in July 2012.

He told the Daily Echo: “It’s OK, it’s good. Everything is all right.”

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