A petition has been launched calling for the closure of a Farnborough butchers shop with the lowest food hygiene rating.

Get Hampshire has previously reported that J & J Halal Butchers, in Bridge Road, received a rating of zero out of five following an inspection by Rushmoor Borough Council (RBC) environmental health officers in January.

At the time, the council declined to make the inspectors’ full report available as officers were working with the shop’s owners to try to improve its hygiene standards.

Farnborough resident Richard Sharpe set up a petition at www.change.org on Monday (March 6), claiming this was “against the law” and insisting that “immediate closure must follow” for the butchers.

The petition had attracted 220 signatures by Tuesday (March 7) and Mr Sharpe said that, when it reaches 250 signatures, he would send it to Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth for consideration.

Mr Sharpe told Get Hampshire that he and some friends had been in touch with the MP individually, but he decided to set up a petition to show the strength of local feeling.

“When I read the story, I thought it was disgraceful,” he said.

“Our letters to our MP didn’t seem to be making a difference, so I tried something else to show him it’s not just us who feel this way. I’m hoping we gather 2,000 signatures and the shop is closed down.”

Mr Sharpe criticised RBC for withholding the inspectors’ report, saying: “People are entitled to know what’s going on. This shop has sold food to people and it’s a health risk.

“I disagree with the practice of halal anyway. That, coupled with terrible hygiene standards, makes this shop really bad in my eyes."

The Food Standards Agency collects data on food outlets in partnership with local authorities.

RBC officers inspected the butchers shop in September last year and it was given a food hygiene rating of two, which means improvements are needed.

A follow-up visit in January revealed standards had fallen further and the rating slipped to zero.

Following the second inspection, the council officers reported that improvements were necessary in the shop’s “hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage”.

At the time, Councillor Ken Muschamp, RBC’s cabinet member for safety and regulation, urged residents to only use food outlets rated four or five, for their own safety and to encourage traders to do better.

Get Hampshire has been unable to reach the shop for comment.

For more information, visit the Food Standards Agency website .