A Reading food business has been forced closed due to a rat infestation.

N&B Foods, a foods wholesaler in Tilehurst was told to shut at the end of August after council investigators found rat droppings throughout its warehouse.

The company bills itself as “leaders in food service” providing a range of foods for a diverse range of takeaways including chicken shops, curry houses, pizzerias, kebab shops fish & chip and chinese takeaways out of its sites in Upton Road, Tilehurst, and Swindon.

But council hygiene inspectors found rat droppings at various locations in the warehouse when they visited.

At a court hearing, magistrates were shown photographic evidence of the rat droppings on the floor and near a walk-in fridge and food packaging.

Oliver Capildeo, prosecuting, said: “The shutters to the main entrance have a 2cm gap, allowing rats to quite easily pass and repass through the premises.

“It does not prevent other rats coming in and exacerbating the infestation."

Mr Capildeo accused N&B Foods of poor housekeeping.

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Council hygiene officers visited on two occasions, on Wednesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 14.

A hearing was meant to take place on Friday, September 2 but was adjourned.

The warehouse was forced closed by Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice following the first visit.

However, this forced closure is only temporary, and in order for the closure to remain, it has to be confirmed at a Magistrates Court.

An Emergency Hygiene Prohibition Order confirms the closure of the business until the infestation is dealt with.

The order was obtained at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday, September 16.

Vivek Odedra, a director of N&B Foods, was present.

As well as the closure, the business must pay £2,922.50 in costs to the council, which includes Mr Capildeo’s legal fee.

Earlier, Mr Capildeo said: “The condition of the property was so deplorable it would be entirely approriate for a full cost order to be me.

For his part, Mr Odedra said work is being undertaken to address the issues raised.

He explained: “I can only apologise for not being present when the council first came in.

“The following day I was there myself to get it to where it needs to be.

“The pest control has been changed, I’m not using the guy previously, I’m using pest control from our Swindon branch.

“I’ve got builders there as we speak, and we’re getting pest proof gaps installed in the shutters, that’s the first thing they addressed.”

Mr Odedra went onto say rubber sealing and metal bars will be used to prevent rats from entering.

He also reassured magistrates that no food was prepared in the warehouse.

Addressing Mr Odedra, the lead magistrate said: “Some of the photos have been rather shocking.

“There’s clearly a need for you to take a tighter grip of what’s happening at your business.

“There’s a responsibility and accountability there, and that needs to be taken seriously.”