THIS week got off to a grizzly start when shocking images emerged revealing a Merseyside Pound Bakery had become overrun by mice.

The cafe-bakery chain, which is popular around the region, was quick to reassure the public there was “nothing more important” to it than hygiene and food safety.

The store in question, on Princes Pavement in Birkenhead, was given a rating of ‘2’ by the Food Standards Agency after droppings were found in five places around the store, including inside the display fridge.

That information came from a Freedom of Information request submitted to Wirral Council.

Pound Bakery, which is run by Sayers the Bakers, operates more than 20 stores across Merseyside, and readers will be relieved to hear the Birkenhead store’s ‘2’ rating – indicating some improvement necessary – is the lowest currently held by any of them.

That means none currently hold ‘0’ or ‘1’ – which mean urgent and major improvement necessary respectively.

Here is the full list of the chain’s Merseyside stores and their respective food hygiene ratings:

Those with a ‘2’ – meaning some improvement necessary

Princes Pavement, Birkenhead. Last inspection: January 22, 2019

Those with a ‘3’ – meaning generally satisfactory

Market Centre, St Helens. Last inspection: November 15, 2018

Those with a ‘4’ – meaning good

County Road, Kirkdale. Last inspection: January 20, 2017

Church Street, St Helens. Last inspection: January 3, 2019

Derby Road, Huyton. Last inspection: June 8, 2018

Cherry Tree Shopping Centre, Liscard, Wirral. Last inspection: October 5, 2017

Strand Shopping Centre, Bootle. Last inspection: February 3, 2018

Those with a ‘5’ – meaning very good

Broadway, Norris Green. Last inspection: September 21, 2018

Dale Street, Liverpool City Centre. Last inspection: November 8, 2017

Grange Road, Birkenhead. Last inspection: May 2, 2018

St Chad’s Parade, Kirkby. Last inspection: February 14, 2018

Marble Shopping Centre, Southport. Last inspection: February 13, 2019

Central Square, Maghull. Last inspection: June 1, 2017

Lord Street – Liverpool City Centre. Last inspection: January 3, 2018

Prescot Road, Old Swan. Last inspection: October 12, 2015

Park Lane, Netherton. Last inspection: July 16, 2018.

Eccleston Street, Prescot. Last inspection: April 13, 2018

Lord Street, Southport. Last inspection: May 30, 2018

St John’s Shopping Centre, Liverpool City Centre. Last inspection: July 31, 2017

Stanley Road, Bootle. Last inspection: May 9, 2017

West Derby Road, Tuebrook. Last inspection: September 21, 2016

Williamson Square, Liverpool City Centre. Last inspection: October 7, 2016

A spokeswoman for Sayers said over 70% of its shops in the North West were awarded a ‘5’, emphasising that no shop other than the Princes Pavement has a ‘2’ or below.

She added: “This is why everyone here was very disappointed with the result in Birkenhead, as it is clearly not representative of the results we achieve in our other shops and the hard work of our staff to achieve this.

“We have quickly reacted in this shop, put a plan in place and [are] seeking a re-score.

“Hopefully these independent results following stringent inspections from the local council can assure you and your readers that nothing is more important to us than hygiene and food safety. We consistently get good ratings and take immediate action if any issue is raised.”