Mice droppings and evidence of an "active mouse infestation" at a Helston bakery has led to its owners being ordered to pay almost £7,000 in fines and costs by magistrates.

David and Victoria Harford, owners of Vicky's Bread, were both found guilty of three food hygiene offences, including failing to have adequate procedures in place to control pests, when they appeared before magistrates in Truro on Wednesday.

The pair were fined a total of £1,154, and ordered to pay £114 victim surcharge and the council's costs of £5,529.70.

The court had heard that during a routine food hygiene inspection on January 5, 2017, at the bakery site at Treprison Business Park, Cornwall Council officers found evidence of an active mouse infestation and mouse droppings throughout the food premises which posed an imminent risk to public health.

The business was immediately prohibited from operating until appropriate pest control procedures were implemented and the building made pest proof. This was completed four days later.

The Harfords were convicted of three food hygiene offences, including failing to have adequate procedures to control pests. The bakery and its equipment were also found to be in an unclean state and the pair were also convicted of not maintaining an effective food safety management system and not training their staff adequately.

In sentencing, the magistrates said this was "a very serious matter that put the public at risk in respect of public health. You were negligent but it was not deliberate. Checks should have been made but they weren’t.”

Nick Kelly, food and safety manager, said: “Standards of food hygiene in Cornwall are good. We work proactively with businesses to improve food hygiene and standards. However, officers will use emergency powers or take more formal action if public health is at risk such as it was in this case.”

Sue James, Cornwall Council cabinet member for environment and public protection, added: “In cases such as this one, our food safety officers won’t hesitate to prosecute. Thankfully, the number of cases like this every year is small.”

A statement issued by Vicky's Bread said: "In January 2017, we closed our bakery for five days as we needed to clear up an infestation of mice. "The problem occurred during the ten-day Christmas break when the bakery was closed.

"We worked closely with the council’s food hygiene team, and the bakery re-opened with their approval.

"For over 12 years, we have had an impeccable health & safety track record.  We admit we got it wrong on this occasion and have since implemented new stringent processes.

"Since re-opening we have been visited by the local environmental health officers and have passed every requirement.

"We are proud of our successful business and want to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers for their continuing support and reassure them of our strict food hygiene practices."