Rat infestation lands Devon restaurant with fine
Public health officers found a decomposing rat in an Indian restaurant in Devon, a court heard last week, at the culmination of years of environmental health violations at the premises.
The rat was found at the Taj Mahal restaurant in Teignmouth in June 2011. The inspectors from Teignbridge District Council found the long-deceased rat under a staircase in the restaurant, as well as rodent droppings, damaged utensils, greasy floors and walls, food on the floor, a leaking refrigerator, and holes in walls and drains.
Torquay Magistrates Court heard that pest control problems had first been observed in 2005, and again in 2007, when it closed voluntarily to deal with a rat infestation.
The local Herald Express newspaper reported that the restaurant’s owners were told to clean and disinfect the premises and make sure that urgent things were put right straight away so that the restaurant could remain open. A further inspection in May 2012, however, found further violations and the council decided to bring a prosecution against the owners.
Sultan Al-Mahmood, who managed Taj Mahal Ltd, was fined £6,000 for the offences and ordered to pay £773 in costs.
Teignbridge Council’s spokesman for environmental services, Kevin Lake, said, “In this case there were clearly some very serious hygiene issues, and public health comes first.”