A chip shop owner has been fined over the filthy state of his premises after a shocked customer saw a mouse run across the floor.
Ronnie Brambles, 68,was a professional drummer before retiring to run the Eating Plaice on Lord Street, Fleetwood.
However, a shocked customer reported him to environmental health officers after she saw the rodent.
Brambles admitted eight Food Hygiene Act offences when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates.
He was fined a total of £900 and ordered to pay £1,831 costs.
Mary Grimshaw, prosecuting for Wyre Council, said an inspection revealed an extensive mouse infestation in the main serving area and preparation rooms.
A container of batter was covered with a dirty teacloth and raw fish had been left in a dirty sink.
The health officers also found evidence that staff had been smoking on the premises which also smelled because of an open drain pipe.
The prosecutor said: “There was a lack of basic hygiene or records and the fish and chip was voluntarily closed for 13 days until work was done to make sure it no longer constituted a danger to public health.
“The premises have had a poor hygiene record over the years.”
During a formal interview, Brambles, of Arndale Close,Fleetwood said he accepted the blame for a deterioration in standards and his wife had been unable to assist him because of illness.
Trevor Colebourne, defending, said the mouse infestation had been caused by a build-up of fly-tipped rubbish at the rear of the property.
He said: “There has been a mountain of rubbish including dead animals.
“There were mice there-everywhere.
“He did make attempts to remedy the problem but accepts he did not act with the alarcity required.
“He brought in a professional company to help called Death to Pest and at one stage they had 22 mouse traps around the premises, such was the number of mice.”
The defence lawyer said his client’s turnover had dropped from £131,000-a-year to £104,000 and Brambles had sold his other shop.
Coun Michael Vincent, Wyre’s portfolio holder for health and community engagement, said: “Wyre Council takes food hygiene very seriously and if premises don’t comply, I can assure you we will take action whenever and wherever necessary.”
All food businesses are visited and inspected by Wyre Council. After each inspection businesses who sell food directly to the public are awarded a food hygiene rating.
Last year, of 1,116 in the borough, 93 per cent were broadly compliant with food safety and hygiene regulations.