Ealing council has warned UK café owners to double check the credentials of visiting food safety officials, after a woman claiming to be from the Environmental Safety and Health department told the owner of a local noodle bar that he could receive a health and safety certificate in return for cash.

The bogus council official inspected the premises and then threatened the owner that if payment was not offered immediately, he could face a fine at a later point.

A phone call to the council from the suspicious noodle bar manager confirmed that she was bogus.

A spokesman from Ealing council told the This is Ealing news: "The council's policy on visiting any premises, business or residential, is that officials must always present their photo identification badge automatically.

"There is a phone number on the ID that can be called to verify the identity of the visitor."