Owner of rat-infested restaurant given suspended prison sentence

27 November 2023 by
Owner of rat-infested restaurant given suspended prison sentence

The owner of a restaurant in Oxfordshire has been handed a suspended prison sentence after admitting to numerous food safety and hygiene breaches.

Masum Miah, who owns curry restaurant Masooms in Wantage, pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates' Court last month to 10 charges relating to food hygiene offences at the premises during 2022.

During a series of inspections carried out between 16 August and 14 November 2022, officers from Vale of White Horse District Council, which brought the case to court, found repeated evidence of a rat infestation.

The council reported there were inadequate pest control procedures in place and "significant evidence of rat activity", with animal droppings found in the storeroom and kitchen.

Food was also uncovered and not protected from potential contamination.

In addition, the council found dirty and damaged equipment in the kitchen, no hot water supply to the washhand basin or for cleaning utensils and equipment, and no system in place to ensure safe food management.

Due to the imminent public health risk, Miah was twice required to close the premises during the inspection period but, during one of the closures, the premises were then found to be open.

His sentencing was heard on 17 November where Miah received a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work, to be completed within 12 months, and to pay almost £4,200 in costs.

In court, District Judge Sufiyan Rana agreed Miah had adopted a relaxed attitude to the situation, failing to take any responsibility at the time and blaming others for the situation.

Councillor Mark Coleman, cabinet member for environmental services and waste at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: "The number one priority for all food businesses is to ensure that that their food is safe to eat and that their premises meet all hygiene requirements.

"Any business that fails to do this puts the public at risk and we will not hesitate to take immediate and serious action against them."

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