A grocery store owner has been banned from running his shop and slapped with a £9,000 fine after repeatedly failing to comply with food hygiene laws, with health inspectors finding blood in ready-to-eat food items and an ant infestation throughout the store, which included a halal butcher's shop.

Mohammad Mokarram, who runs Mokarram Bros in Berkhampstead Road, Chesham, pleaded guilty to 13 food hygiene offences after “repeated breaches” of cross contamination risks, and out-of-date food were noted over four months of subsequent repeated visits by Environmental Health officers.

They also found that ready-to-eat food was contaminated with blood from sheep carcasses, and a Pharaoh’s ant infestation was seen throughout the shop.

Pharaoh’s ants are different to normal garden ants as they carry germs which can be transmitted to food.

They also said the shop was dirty and equipment was in a poor condition.

Mokarram was fined £4,095 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

Magistrates said the fine reflected the fact that he had been in business for some time, the large number of offences, the fact that health inspectors were required to be active at the premises for several months, with “minimal effort” to make improvements at the shop, and that the shop “served the wider community”.

Cllr Liz Walsh, Chiltern District Council's cabinet member for healthy communities, said: “We work hard with our businesses to help them comply with the law.

“However, when businesses blatantly disregard food hygiene and fail to implement legal requirements highlighted by our Environmental Health team, we will always ensure that our more intensive regulation will be directed at those food businesses that pose the greatest risk, and we will not hesitate to prosecute those with persistent non-compliance.”