Coffee chain Starbucks has been fined £12,000 after one of its outlets in London's West End was found to be infested with mice.
Mouse droppings were found next to cutlery and cling film as well as biscuits and coffee during an inspection in November last year, London's City of Westminster magistrates were told.
Starbucks pleaded guilty to four counts of food safety and hygiene breaches and admitted that the Villiers Street outlet had not been kept clean. It admitted that there were inadequate pest control procedures and that food handlers had not been adequately instructed.
Phil Broad, managing director of Starbucks Coffee Company UK, said the store is now being rebuilt and staff are being retrained.
"We sincerely regret that standards of food hygiene were compromised at one of our London stores in November 2005 where our stringent procedures were not followed," he said.
He added that the Villiers Street store, which was visited by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in 1999, was the only outlet to have been subject to legal proceedings of this nature.
Separately, Oliver Peyton‘s Inn the Park restaurant in London's St James's Park was shut earlier this week after being invaded by mice.
A Westminster Council spokesman said: "The council's food team closed Inn the Park's kitchen on Monday because of a serious infestation of mice and poor maintenance of routine cleaning resulting in actual, and a significant risk of, food contamination."
A spokeswoman for Inn in the Park said: "We are in a unique location and field mice are a natural phenomenon of our environment.
"The dramatic change in temperature caused some to migrate to our restaurant to find warmth. As soon as we were made aware of the problem, we immediately called in our contracted pest elimination experts.
"The problem has now been resolved. Westminster Council is completely satisfied and we have been given a clean bill of health."
By Kerstin Kuhn