A dead mouse baked into a loaf of bread has just cost a Mitcham bakery over £16,000.

Dad Stephen Forse thought his Hovis loaf was just discoloured when he began making sandwiches for his children, but on closer inspection saw an object covered in fur.

The object turned out to be a mouse and Mr Forse suspects that one of his family may have eaten the tail unwittingly the previous day.

Following an investigation council health officers, makers Premier Foods was ordered to pay £16,821.14 at Oxford Crown Court on Friday.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure all stages of food production were protected against contamination and failing to maintain a robust pest management system at the Ellis Road factory which produced the loaf.

Father-of-two Mr Forse, from Kidlington, ordered the bread online from Tesco in January last year. He said he had already used a few of the slices when he came to make sandwiches for his children and their friends.

He said: "I noticed a dark coloured object embedded in the corner of three or four slices.

"Initially I thought it was where the dough had not mixed properly prior to baking. As I looked closer I saw that the object had fur on it.

"I continued to prepare some sandwiches for the children from another loaf of bread that was in the fridge, checking carefully each slice in turn as I still felt quite shaken.”

An inspector from Cherwell District Council noted that the mouse did not have a tail.

Mr Forse added: “Her comments made me feel ill once again as there was no indication as to where the tail was.

"Had it fallen off prior to the bread being wrapped or had any of my family eaten it with another slice of bread on a previous day?"

Council technical officer Aileen Smith said: "Mice harbour disease, particularly salmonella which can result in severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and can be fatal to children, the elderly or those with a compromised immune system."

Tesco declined to comment. A Premier Foods spokesman said: “We apologise profusely for the distress caused as a result of this isolated incident.” He said production was stopped when the firm was told of the find and there had been a ‘thorough investigation’.

He said: “There was no evidence of mice within the bakery and no history of any similar issues.”