A TOWN centre restaurant was forced to shut its kitchen for a week after inspectors found mice droppings on filthy floors.

Environmental officers issued an order to Caribbean bar and takeaway La Spatule in Bradshawgate after they uncovered a rodent infestation in its store room and kitchen during a routine inspection.

They also slapped the venue with a food hygiene rating of zero — the lowest possible — as they decided the state of the food preparation area meant it was a danger to public health.

After a follow-up visit yesterday (FRI) La Spatule has now been allowed to re-open after it was thoroughly cleaned. But the eatery will be subject to more inspections.

Cllr Nick Peel, the executive cabinet member for environmental services, said the council takes restaurant cleanliness extremely seriously.

He added: “Officers in Bolton Council’s food team are willing to work with businesses to provide advice and guidance on food safety.

“However, where there is a serious risk to food safety, appropriate enforcement action will be taken to protect the public.

“The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme allows consumers to check the food hygiene standards of places where they eat out or shop for food.”

Inspectors found the mice infestation during a routine food hygiene inspection on May 29.

After agreeing with the owners that they would close the kitchen voluntarily and clean up their act, council officers returned on June 6 and say they found evidence that food had been cooked and eaten in the restaurant despite no improvement in standards.

The authority took restaurant bosses to court and issued a hygiene emergency prohibition notice, which forced the closure.

La Spatule is the second takeaway on Bradshawgate to be close this year because of a mice infestation, after the Bolton Kebab House was shut down in January.

It has since put up signs saying it is under new management, but has yet to re-open.

Manager of La Spatule Adelaide Tatchemo said the mice infestation came through a neighbouring property.

She denied they had continued to serve food after the first visit from council officers.

Ms Tatchemo said: “When we noticed that we had mice droppings, straight away we agreed to close to carry out what needed to be done.

“Someone put up pictures on Facebook saying we had been cooking food, but they were old pictures — they couldn’t prove I had been cooking, the cooker was dry and I was not cooking.

“I’m really always careful about the food I serve, and never had any complaints before.

“I have now signed up with pest control to make sure these problems don’t happen again.”