A Farnborough butchers shop given the lowest food hygiene rating in January has completed a remarkable turnaround in just a few months.

J&J Halal Butchers, in Bridge Road, received a zero rating following an inspection by Rushmoor Borough Council, meaning “urgent improvements” were needed.

It prompted a petition calling for the shop’s closure, which has gathered 872 signatures and has been sent to Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth and Health Minister Phillip Dunne.

However, the shop was re-inspected on Thursday March 30 and has been given a fresh rating of four out of five, meaning standards are now classed as "good".

The shop owner’s nephew, Mohammed Shakeel, who oversaw the improvements, said the zero rating was due to concerns over the building rather than the food.

He added that all the council’s requirements had been met.

“The last time the inspectors were here, there were broken plugs and wires here and there,” Mr Shakeel said. “That was the problem.

“This time, they checked everything and said we were fine. It feels good to know all our hard work has paid off.

“We will definitely keep up these standards and we want to go even further by aiming for a five in our next inspection.”

Asked about the those who signed the petition, Mr Shakeel said: “If they come and see us, they will notice a big difference.”

A spokesman for RBC confirmed that a member of its environmental health team had carried out a re-inspection of the butchers shop and given it a rating of four.

"Following the formal (improvement) notices served by the inspecting environmental health officer earlier this year, the business operator had implemented suitable food safety procedures," the spokesman said.

"The officer noted the improvements made, with only minor cleaning issues keeping the business from achieving the top rating of five.

"The council will continue to monitor the business to make sure that the current "good" standards are maintained."

Many of the people who signed the petition said they were concerned not only with hygiene standards but with the practice of halal slaughter, with some calling it "inhumane".

Mr Shakeel would not be drawn on attitudes towards halal slaughter, except to confirm that it was a religious requirement for Muslims.

However, he said that J&J was the only halal butchers in Farnborough and there was a big demand for its products in the local area.