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A Bolton dairy distribution centre has been fined £25,000 after environmental health inspectors discovered rat droppings, a mouldy walk-in fridge and a dirty toilet.

Medina Dairy Bolton Ltd, on Tonge Bridge Way, was prosecuted by Bolton Council for a total of 22 hygiene offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations.

Omar Shafiq, on behalf of the company, pleaded guilty to all 22 offences on April 29.

He attended Bolton Magistrates Court on Tuesday, June 10 for sentencing.

The company was ordered to pay a £25,000 fine, £1,467 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Medina Dairy Bolton supplies milk, dairy and other food products to businesses.

**Medina Dairy, on Manchester Road, is a separate company and not in any way associated with Medina Dairy Bolton Ltd.**

Two Bolton Council environmental health officers, an immigration officer and a Greater Manchester Police officer inspected the premises as part of a multi-agency visit in August 2018.

The inspection found the dairy was in a very dirty condition and general poor repair.

Issues included: the toilet door grossly contaminated with dirt; the walk-in refrigerator used to store milk featured significant mould on the ceiling and walls, and dirty water was ponding outside the walk-in refrigerator because the floor was uneven and damaged.

A written warning was issued by the council informing the company that it was an offence to operate a food business in such conditions and legal action may be taken if no improvement was made.

The following month, inspectors revisited and found the state of the premises unchanged.

Basic cleaning tasks had not been carried out and no repairs had been made.

Officers also discovered loaves of bread stored on a pallet with rat droppings present. The business had also previously been found to be keeping cats in the dairy to catch rats.

The court heard that a further inspection last week found most of the improvements had still not been made. Inspectors also found bottles of milk left out in the sun.

Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Regulatory Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said: “This is a shocking case. Clearly this was not an isolated incident and the company was given numerous warnings and opportunities to improve.

“Food business operators must ensure their business has good hygiene practices.

“And this case is particularly concerning because it involves a company which has a multi-million turnover and the owners should have known better.

“We hope this fine will serve as a warning to them and others. Should the business not make improvements we will take further legal action.”

**Medina Dairy, on Manchester Road, is a separate company and not in any way associated with Medina Dairy Bolton Ltd.**

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