The owner of a “genuinely disgusting” north London kebab shop overrun by cockroaches and rats has been fined for endangering public health.
Kazim Recber admitted 15 offences after customers and officers found vile conditions in which food was being prepared at Ponders End Kebab in Enfield.
A customer raised the alarm with the local council after they spotted a cockroach on the premises in the High Street in Ponders End, in August 2020.
Within minutes of their arrival, the officers found the premises swarming with live cockroaches, as well as identifying multiple hygiene failings, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard.
There had been “plenty of evidence” rats and cockroaches had been in food packages, preparation and storage areas, officers said.
Enfield Council later tweeted: “We think you should only see this many cockroaches on I’m A Celebrity and not in a kebab shop.”
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 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.
Enfield Council’s cabinet member for licensing and regulatory services, Cllr George Savva, said: “This was a genuinely disgusting pest infestation which this business failed utterly to control.
“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.”