The owners of a Northwich curry house have been handed a suspended prison sentence and banned from running any UK food businesses after inspectors reported a "total disregard to food safety".
Lutfur Rahman and Abdul Helim, joint owners of Mumtaaz Indian Restaurant in Weaverham, Cheshire, were sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years - concurrent on all charges, 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.
They were also issued with an indefinite Hygiene Prohibition Order banning them from being involved in the management of any food business in the UK.
The restaurant was temporarily closed after a routine hygiene inspection in June 2018 found mouldy food, inadequate hand washing facilities, poor standards of cleanliness throughout the premises, and a lack of food safety management control in the business.
It reopened two days later after a deep clean was completed and adequate refrigeration equipment was provided.
A return inspection in December 2018 found that an outside breeze block shed used to store food was heavily contaminated with mouse droppings, on the food and throughout the structure.
In addition, the main building remained in poor structural condition and cleaning and hygiene standards were only marginally better than during the June 2018 visit.
All contaminated dry goods were destroyed on site under the supervision of the officers, the shed was voluntarily closed and the owners agreed not to use it until it was cleared of pests and contamination.
Following a complaint alleging an illegal gas installation, inspectors returned to the restaurant in May 2019 and found there to be no hot water supply to the premises, poor cleaning and structural standards, risks of cross contamination and lack of food safety management control.
Judge HHJ Teague said that the defendants showed a total disregard to food safety, the business was in a truly appalling state of affairs and the place was absolutely filthy.
Mumtaaz is now under new management and has signed up to Cheshire Council's GET5 scheme, which supports new and existing food businesses to achieve five out of five in the food hygiene rating scheme.