Dead mouse on shelf, cockroach infestation and mouldy food at grim grocery store

A grocery store owner was jailed and fined £20,000 after a dead mouse and cockroaches were found on the premises.

Abo Alabed owner Mohammed Mohammed, 41, refused to comply with food hygiene regulations despite warnings and visits by environmental health officers.

Violations included infestations of mice, cockroaches and flies near food preparation areas.

A mouldy bag of peanuts and six-week old salami were among the food sold past their sell-by date.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the store owner is already serving a 25-month prison sentence for selling counterfeit cigarettes and laundering thousands of pounds.

Inspectors visited Abo Alabed in September 2019 and found flies in the raw meat preparation area, raw fish stored in freezers without packaging and fridges thick with dirt.

Prosecutor Lee Reynolds said there were no soap or hand-washing facilities on site.

He added: "Numerous flies were noted in the raw meat preparation area and appeared to be lying on raw cuts of meat. This led to Mr Mohammed selecting a roll of disposable bags to swat the flies against the cuts of meat.

"When asked what items he used to clean the premises he produced a bottle of glass cleaner."

Mohammed was challenged over a bottle of yoghurt four days past its date.

When confronted he proceeded to drink it.

In January 2020 officers returned to find mouse droppings.

After a cockroach infestation in August 2020 the store was finally ordered to close.

But days later officers saw people attending the store and purchasing items.

Mohammed pleaded guilty to failing to comply with hygiene improvement notices and intentionally obstructing an officer.

Mohammed's lawyer Rebecca Griffiths said his poor understanding of English prevented him from complying with regulations.

She said: "In his mind he wasn't doing anything wrong."

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke sentenced Mohammed to 13 months in prison to be served concurrently with his current term.

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