AN INDIAN restaurant has been hit with a heavy fine after a customer found a cockroach in his dinner.
Everest Spice in Kingston Road, Buckland, was given a zero hygiene rating by Portsmouth City Council in March when an officer visited and found it was infested with the insects.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the inspection came after the customer complained when he found a cockroach in his food.
When officers went into the premises, they found more than 50 cockroaches, some of which were by bottles of water that were on sale.
Rat droppings were found and the staff toilets were in a poor state.
No food safety management system was in place, required by the business.
Although there was one, Everest Spice trader Niroj Tamrakar had taken it to his London home.
And magistrates heard there was no evidence of staff training on hygiene safety and the sink was in disrepair.
Tamrakar, who pleaded guilty, was not on site when the inspection took place.
He told the inspector over the phone that he would shut the restaurant down for a few days voluntarily because of the risk to public health.
He was reportedly aware of the cockroach problem, and tried to treat it with household items. A recent inspection of Everest Spice, which offers a takeaway delivery service, found that improvements had been made – but there are still some issues such as record keeping and staff training.
It has subsequently been given a hygiene rating of two.
Laura Jenking-Rees, mitigating, said that due to Tamrakar’s wife bringing in the primary income, he was taking care of his two children and had not been visiting Everest Spice as much because of his responsibilities.
She said: ‘He was highly reliant and trusting of the people there to run the business.’
But magistrate Jenny Duddridge said he should have been aware of hygiene ratings because of his other job at Pizza Hut and ordered him to pay £9,589.
Tory environment boss, Cllr Robert New, said: ‘We try to work with food businesses and advise them on food safety. But the seriousness of this case, and the risk to public health, meant we had no alternative but to prosecute.’