FIVE tonnes of food found in a cake factory in Bolton which contained rat droppings must be destroyed, a court has ordered.

The Food Standards Agency issued an emergency recall alert for the re-packaged cakes from Cake Factory Outlet and Clearance Cake Excess, in Hacken Lane, Darcy Lever, last week.

Bolton Council seized five tonnes of re-branded and re-labelled cakes, biscuits, sweets, puddings and tarts from the outlet after finding rotting food and fresh rat droppings inside the unit at Riverside Mill.

And yesterday a food condemnation order was granted at Bolton Magistrates’ Court, meaning the all of the cakes must be destroyed.

Andrew Morris, prosecuting, said the council had been unable to contact the business owners, Paul Lax and Derek Gleave, since the first inspection at the premises in December.

Mr Morris said: “Attempts to arrange for the food to be seized from the premises by the authority failed because they could not be contacted.

“The food was seized on January 23, followed by the food condemnation order.”

He told the court that the council’s inspectors found rat droppings and rotted food, which was confirmed in court by environmental health officer Beverly Johnson.

The council will now arrange for the food to be destroyed.

A council spokesman said after the hearing: “We take breaches of food hygiene very seriously and take prompt and decisive action to protect consumers whose health could be put at risk.

“Following a visit to the Cake Factory Outlet’s premises by our environmental health officers on January 10, there was evidence of an infestation of rats which was serious enough to have contaminated food.”

“We immediately issued a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice to prohibit the use of the premises as a food business and informed the Food Standards Agency, who raised a Food Alert For Action to recall the products supplied to distributors and retailers.

“Following the court issuing the Food Condemnation Order, we will arrange for the food seized to be destroyed.”

The company — which was not registered with the local authority — repackages cakes classed as seconds and then sells them to market traders, including those in Clitheroe, Blackburn and Manchester Smithfields Market.

The Food Standards Agency advised people who may have bought the cakes not to eat them and report the products to Bolton Council.