A restaurant in Pembrokeshire has been ordered to pay more than £15,000 after hiding its zero hygiene rating sticker behind an umbrella.
JT3 on Main Street in Fishguard was issued with a food hygiene rating of zero in March last year after an inspection carried out by Pembrokeshire Council found the kitchen in "a poor state of cleanliness and repair" with flies present.
When they revisited the business at a later date, council officers found the hygiene rating sticker hidden behind an umbrella. It is a legal requirement to display this rating.
The company and restaurant bosses plead guilty to a number of offences at Haverfordwest Magistrate's Court on Friday 3 July.
They were fined £10,700 by the court and one of the directors has also been banned from operating a food business again.
When officers from Pembrokeshire Council's public protection division inspected the restaurant last year, a number of issues were identified with the kitchen. They found "no disinfecting cleaning products or soap available, an inadequate water supply and flies present."
As a result, they gave the business a zero rating for food hygiene.On a later visit, while improvements had been made, the council found that the restaurant was not displaying their hygiene rating and they were warned that this is illegal in Wales.
On subsequent visits the sticker was seen placed behind doors and then behind an umbrella that was hanging down, blocking it from view. The council then issued a fine for failing to display the sticker, which went unpaid.
Further visits to the restaurant were made and a zero hygiene rating awarded again. On one occasion, the situation was so bad that two visits had to be made in one day.
The sticker was then again found hidden from view, which the council said was deliberate.
The bosses of JT3, Daniel Wynne Jones and Lois Thomas, along with their company Me‘n’u1 Ltd, pleaded guilty to a number of offences at Haverfordwest Magistrate's Court.They were issued with a fine of £10,700 and ordered to pay costs of £4,571.11 and victim surcharges of £240.Daniel Wynne Jones was also banned from operating a food business.
Pembrokeshire Council said the business misled customers and this restaurant was the first in the county were hygiene had actually become worse after receiving a zero rating.
A spokesman for the council said: "This is unprecedented in the history of the Food Hygiene Rating scheme in Pembrokeshire where a business has scored zero twice and conditions have deteriorated rather than improved across the two inspections.
"The decision of the court to prohibit him from running a food business and the level of fine reflect the seriousness of this case."