Dead mice found in rice stores

Ayutthaya: Rice inspectors found dead mice and pigeons in stores of pledged rice in two warehouses in Ayutthaya's Wang Noi district Wednesday.

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Prapasi Boonwiset, an inspector from the Prime Minister's Office, led inspectors, troops and state agencies to survey three warehouses in tambon Sanab Tueb.

At the two storage places of PP&P Warehouse, which each stored 127,343 sacks and 67,892 sacks of broken-milled rice, inspectors found large amounts of rice scattered on the floor. The stockpile was also infested with weevils and insects.

Another store at Phetrungruangpheudpol Warehouse, which stocked 857 sacks of 5% white rice, was found to have laid out its stockpile incorrectly, damaging some of the rice. The warehouses' fumigation information was also outdated.

The inspection team plans to call on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to authorise the examination of standards and storage management at the warehouse, as these issues were partly blamed for the deteriorated rice.

In Ayutthaya, six warehouses have been surveyed so far, while eight more are pending inspection.

Ayutthaya police Wednesday arrested Sawai Phanthom, 54, and his wife Saowanee Muslem, 30, for allegedly stealing rice.

They were hired to deliver pledged rice to the distribution centre of a hypermarket's warehouse in Wang Noi district on March 3, but the truck and rice never arrived.

They were arrested at a house in Phak Hai district after the Samut Prakan court issued a warrant.

The warrant said Mr Sawai had been hired to drive a truck loaded with packed rice weighing 16 tonnes belonging to Capital Trading Co in Samut Prakan to the hypermarket's warehouse.

Police said the couple confessed to stealing three tonnes of the rice and selling it for 30,000 baht, but said they left the rest inside the truck at a petrol station on Bang Na-Trat Road. The truck was never found.

Meanwhile, troops and local authorities examined grains of White Broken Rice A1 Super being shifted out of "AAAAA" warehouse in Buri Ram's Nang Rong district.

Up to 30,000 sacks of rice were due to be exported following auctions secured by private firms. Of 41,349 sacks of rice stored in the warehouse, only about 5,000 sacks met export criteria.

About 10,000 sacks were found to contain deteriorated rice.

Surveyor Somchai Lapritdet said the rice had deteriorated after being kept in the warehouse for more than two years.

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