Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

Owner of ‘genuinely disgusting’ kebab shop overrun by cockroaches and rats fined

A north London kebab shop swarming with rats and cockroaches has been fined for putting public health at risk.

Owner Kazim Recber was convicted of 15 offences for failing to bring the "disgusting" food hygiene issue under control.

Inspectors found cockroaches crawling along the floor, walls, and ceiling within minutes of arriving at Ponders End Kebab in Enfield.

They also found evidence that the vermin were in food preparation and storage areas, and had even managed to get inside food packages, according to Enfield Councillor George Savva, who sits on the licencing board.

"This was a genuinely disgusting pest infestation which this business failed utterly to control," he said.

A customer raised the alarm with the local council after they spotted a cockroach on the premises in the High Street in Ponders End, north London, in August 2020.

His concerns were confirmed by officers from the council, who identified multiple hygiene failings, Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court heard.

An Enfield Council later tweeted: "We think you should only see this many cockroaches on I'm A Celebrity and not in a kebab shop."

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The business remained closed for a few weeks until council officers re-inspected to check the issues had been addressed.

But on 1 March 2021, the Food Safety Team visited the premises to carry out the pre-arranged food hygiene inspection and found rat activity in food storage areas.

Both company Director Mr Kazim Recber and the limited company EBM Catering Ltd were charged for continued failure to adequately control pests.

The company and the director were fined £436 each, ordered to pay half each of Enfield Council's costs of £3,283.12 and a victim surcharge of £43 each, or a total of £4,241.12.

Cllr George Savva, said: "Our Food Safety Officers found cockroaches within minutes of arriving on site and found plenty of evidence that they had managed to get into food packages, food preparation areas and storage areas.

“The huge population of cockroaches on site posed a imminent risk to public health and their presence was compounded by inadequate cleaning practices with dirt, food debris and cockroach faeces found in food storage and preparation areas.

"Furthermore, after the business had voluntarily closed to get its house in order, we subsequently found a rat infestation on site, which highlighted the business's inability to control pests and we decided it was in the public’s interest to prosecute.

“Food businesses need to understand that they are obligated to take the necessary measures to protect the public from harm.

"The lapses in food hygiene and pest control were utterly unacceptable and that was reflected in the sentence handed down by the court.”

Another London-based takeaway was hit with a £12,000 fine last year after a "horrendous" mice and cockroach infestation was found alongside coleslaw on sale that was almost 100 days out of date.

Shocked council inspectors gave Latif's takeaway in Stretford, Manchester, a hygiene rating of 0 out of 5.

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