A SHOCKING mouse infestation has resulted in a hygiene rating of zero being given to a kitchen at the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre in Harmondsworth.

The inspection, conducted by the Borough of Hillingdon on September 9, is the lowest possible rating a centre can receive.

The check-up found old mouse droppings which had not been cleaned up on equipment and surfaces throughout the kitchen.

The Food Safety Schedule also noted an open drain behind the ovens and holes behind the fryer as potential entry points for pests.

It said major improvement was necessary in the cleanliness and conditions of the facilities and building, and that urgent improvement was needed in hygienic food handling and management of food safety.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The circumstances which led to this rating were unacceptable and we have ensured that our service provider has taken immediate steps to improve the food hygiene standards at Heathrow immigration removal centre.

"External inspectors have agreed that significant improvements have already been made. We are also strengthening our own checks on catering provision and have made it absolutely clear to our contractor that this must not happen again.”

The centre currently holds more than 500 detainees and in April last year, more than 200 joined in a hunger strike.