The owner of a takeaway allegedly infested with rats has appeared in court on food hygiene charges.

A subsequent inspection of Brighton’s Cod+ in Whitehawk, uncovered rodents, rodent droppings, contaminated food and congealed fat, a court was told.

Owner Asif Javid, who pleaded not guilty to four charges, is now set to stand trial on February 10 next year.

Brighton Magistrates Court heard that a customer contacted council inspectors after allegedly finding a deep fried insect in a portion of chips on September 3 this year.

Food safety officers were sent round to investigate ten days later and carried out a full search of the Whitehawk Road premises.

Len Batten, prosecuting on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council, said officers found congealed fat on the underside of the fridge and contaminated old food in the microwave.

Mr Batten said outside they found old refrigerators being used to dry laundry and rodent droppings near the bins, the court heard.

He added there was a container full of “brown smelly fluid” and a stench of sewage.

The court heard that on checking the health and safety log, inspectors found no mention of the rodent infestation.

Before leaving they left a series of traps around the premises before returning later in the month.

On their subsequent visit they found fresh rodent droppings and on October 4 discovered two adult rats in their traps, the court was told.

Mr Javid, 45, who represented him- self in court, pleaded not guilty to failing to ensure food premises were kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition, failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent hygiene and safety procedures, failure to ensure adequate procedures were in place to control pests and failure to notify the local authority of a rat infestation.

The business owner, who spoke briefly, opted for trial by magistrates.

Lead magistrate Claire Brown set the hearing for February 10 next year.