The owner of a curry house where health inspectors found a rodent and cockroach-infested kitchen as well as rat droppings in the POPPADOMS has escaped jail.
Restaurant owner Ibrar Hussain, 57, allowed conditions at his restaurant to get so bad it caused a dangerous risk of a “public health disaster.”
Caldmore Balti House in Walsall, West Mids., was closed on the spot in March last year after investigators found food being prepared in squalid conditions next to rat droppings.
A court heard the filthy venue was described as “the worst ever seen” by one public health official in her 20 year career.
Mouse droppings were also seen on crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils such as Balti skillets and inside drinking glasses.
Last month Hussain admitted four counts of hygiene failings but on Monday he narrowly avoided jail at Wolverhampton Crown Court .
For each of the four offences Hussain was sentenced to six months jail suspended for 18 months, given 150 hours unpaid work and also ordered to pay £2,321 costs.
Sentencing Judge Michael Challinor said: “The potential for causing illness in my judgement was really high although I accept there was no evidence of particular individuals suffering as a result.
“Your culpability is lower by reason of your relative inexperience in running a business.”
The court heard mouse droppings were discovered in poppadom containers and adult and baby German cockroaches were also uncovered in the kitchen.
Prosecutor Jonathan Salmon said the inspectors described the restaurant and take away as “filthy” and causing a “dangerous risk” to public health.
He said: “The officers describe it has one of the worst they have ever seen.
“When officers checked the food preparation area it was literally peppered with mouse droppings.
“The officer says there was no need to search as they were literally everywhere on work surfaces, shelving, on crockery and in a skillet used to hold hot Balti dishes.
“Shockingly there appeared to be no attempt to clean these premises. Food was being prepared alongside and amongst mouse, rat and cockroach droppings.”
Crockery, glasses, cooking utensils, and food containers were also not cleaned properly.
Mr Salmon added: “The environmental health officer in this case Elizabeth Lee thought it was one of the worst she had seen in her career and she has been qualified since 1993.
“It is hard to imagine a more serious risk to human health than preparing food next to mouse droppings.”
The day after the investigation on March 4, 2013 public health officers returned to find eight mice had been caught in traps overnight as well as four cockroaches.
Defending Thomas Scholfield said significant remedial work was carried out since the raid and Hussain had since acquired a food hygiene certificate.
He added:“The business was reopened on March 11 and has remained open since and is now being run by the defendant’s sons..
“My client had been in charge for some 12 months.
“In my submission the breaches were borne out of inexperience.
“He was a chef for many years, but the process of managing and running a business he unfortunately struggled with.”