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Food moved as signs of rats found nearby

PUBLISHED: 10:37 04 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

PEST controllers have been called in at an Ipswich supermarket – after hungry rats were detected near a store of Christmas goodies, the Evening Star can reveal today.

PEST controllers have been called in at an Ipswich supermarket – after hungry rats were detected near a store of Christmas goodies, the Evening Star can reveal today.

A huge pile of food had been ordered in at Tesco in Copdock Mill, to prepare for the coming days when shop shelves are often stripped bare as customers stock up for Christmas.

Managers decided it was too much to stack inside the store, so staff put it in two marquees at the premises.

But it provided an opportunity for a glorious feast – and vermin were attracted to the site.

Environmental health officers were called in to assess the scene on Friday, and were due to return again on Monday to make sure the store is not flouting food storage regulations.

Babergh District Council's head of environmental services Malcolm Firth said his staff were alerted to problems at the store, by an anonymous complaint.

He said: "I can confirm that environmental health officers visited Tesco on Friday as a result of an anonymous complaint. We have a policy about anonymous complaints and don't ignore them if they may have further implications.

"We did visit the premises and as a result two officers are meeting Tesco's own environmental health officers on site today. Big supermarket chains do employ their own professionals for issues like this.

"We will look at it critically, and look at the procedures Tesco have in place regarding temporary storage, to see if they meet the standards of various food regulations. Our officers will take it from there and decide what the next step will be."

Mr Firth added: "I understand Tesco had engaged a pest control company.

"There is always the potential for structures such as marquees to be vulnerable to rats. We were also initially concerned about the weatherproofing of the two storage marquees."

A spokeswoman for Tesco said no evidence of rats had been found in the marquee, but a bait trap on the edge of the Tescos site had been disturbed, so all food had been moved from the marquees as a precautionary measure.

She added: "Food safety is our top priority."


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