A SNACK bar at a busy Wirral train station was shut down after health inspectors found mice droppings throughout and said it posed "an imminent risk to human health".
Wirral Magistrates Court approved the closure order against Denise's Snack Bar at Birkenhead Central Station on Argyle Street South after an application by the council.
Inspectors told the court they had found mouse droppings on food storage surfaces, in cleaning cloths and on display shelves.
They also said a packet of cheese and onion crisps had been found "gnawed" and droppings were also found on and around drinks cans.
Senior environmental health officer Jon Hardwick told magistrates: "The items gnawed were on display and my colleague removed them.
“They were clearly intended to be sold."
He said: "Rodents had also been on and around trays of canned drinks."
Mr Hardwick said when he attended the snack bar its proprietor, Denise Boothroyd, who did not attend the hearing, had said she had seen a mouse earlier in the month and had called in pest control.
However he said it was clear the problem had got out of hand, and needed to be shut.
He said he had been in contact with her daily since the council closed the premises and she had been cleaning the shop throughout.
Mr Hardwick said they suspected the mice had been able to get in through a tiny pen-sized hole in the front door.
Ken Abraham, representing Wirral council, said Denise’s Snack Bar had the lowest possible hygiene rating of zero – the highest is five.
He said it had been during a routine check that council officers had found droppings "on drink cans which would be directly consumed by the clientele and which would create an imminent risk to human health".
Magistrates approved the application for an emergency hygiene prohibition order.
Mr Abraham said the health inspectors would keep in close contact with snack bar owner and it would only be allowed to re-open once they were "content the health risk had gone away".
A spokeswoman for Merseyrail said: "Merseyrail works hard to ensure that the property we lease meets the highest standards of cleanliness and it is unfortunate that this cafe, which we sub-let, has had to close under such circumstances."