Magistrates have branded the kitchen of an Indian restaurant in Marton “disgusting” after food safety officers discovered a string of safety breaches.
Officers from Rugby Borough Council visited the Essence of India, in Coventry Road, in March and found a host of hygiene issues, including mould on the kitchen walls, utensils on the floor and spiders in the store room.
The owner, Mr Mujibur Rahman Khan, was issued with a warning letter which outlined a string of improvements which needed to be made to both the kitchen and the restaurant’s routine food safety checks.
But when officers returned to the restaurant in May, the state of the kitchen had deteriorated.
A frying pan and metal spoons were on the floor, cobwebs were on the wall and the kitchen wash hand basin had no running hot water.
The seals on the kitchen’s fridge and chest freezer had split and were covered in mould and dirt, while a hole in the kitchen’s rear door was large enough for vermin to enter.
In addition, the kitchen’s ‘insectocuter’ had been switched off and was full of dead insects, while outside the rear yard was littered with food waste and packaging.
At a hearing at Nuneaton’s Warwickshire Justice Centre on Monday, Khan pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.
In mitigation, the 30-year-old, of Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, said financial problems caused by a £28,000 bill from British Gas had prevented him from tackling the problems at the restaurant.
Khan added he had now taken on a more active role in the day-to-day running of the restaurant and produced photographs in court to show work had been carried out in the kitchen to address the hygiene issues.
He was fined £500 for each offence - a total of £3,500 - and was ordered to pay £913.57 costs, a £50 victim surcharge and a £180 criminal court charge.
Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable environment, said: “Food businesses which cut corners on hygiene put the public’s health at risk and we have no hesitation in prosecuting businesses which refuse to work with us to meet safety standards.
“Our food safety team offers advice and support to businesses so owners can understand the legislation and the steps needed to meet hygiene standards.
“I’d urge all food businesses to contact us for help rather than risk a day in court.”
Businesses can contact the council’s food safety team on (01788) 533851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org