Maggots, rats and cockroaches were among some of the vermin found at an Indian restaurant in Newport.
Described as an “enormous risk to public health”, the Jewel Balti on Chepstow Road was closed by health officials after the kitchen’s disgusting conditions were revealed.
Newport council received a complaint about the restaurant in early 2022 with officers arriving to find a cockroach and rat infestation as well as decomposing maggots.
During a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, prosecutor Tom Roberts said there was an area on the floor covered in ‘a white mass of debris and fluid’ which was found to be decomposing maggots and live cockroaches.
One officer revealed they saw a rat hiding in a hole in the corridor, while another said raw meat was being kept in dirty containers with some uncovered and stored outside.
The prosecutor continued: "There was an active and longstanding infestation of cockroaches and rats. It was obvious and could not have been missed by the defendants. There were a number of infestations but they continued to operate and serve food to the public, providing an enormous risk to public health."
Following this discovery, the business could not remain open. The defendant was served with a number of notices to which he failed to comply.
Brothers Aktar Miah, 37, and Afzal Miah, 28, ran the restaurant and both served as directors of Desi Kitchen.
The restaurant remains open with “significant improvements” as Aktar Miah’s wife has assumed control.
Afzal Miah, of Clevedon Road, Newport, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of contravening/failing to comply with specified community provisions. His brother, Aktar Miah, of Milton Road, Newport, and Desi Kitchen pleaded guilty to 15 counts of contravening/failing to comply with specified community provisions, and four counts of failing to comply with a hygiene improvement notice.
Tarriq Saddique, an advocate for Aktar Miah, said his client fully accepted responsibility for the state of the kitchen but claimed that no member of the public had been affected by consumption of the food.
During the sentencing, Judge Shoman Kham said: "You are to be sentenced for frankly appalling food hygiene. Having looked at the photographs it's difficult to imagine a more concerning set of affairs.
"Just listening to those descriptions are just concerning and the fact this restaurant traded in these conditions is appalling.
"There was a mass of decomposing maggots found by officers amongst which were live cockroaches. There was clearly a lengthy period of cockroach infestation, rats and rat droppings, rats heard scurrying in the kitchen walls.
"What struck me when hearing the facts was people were willing to work in these conditions. I find that astonishing – let alone the fact that you were prepared to serve customers in those appalling filthy conditions."
Aktar Miah was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. Afzal Miah was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and to pay £1,400 in court costs. Desi Kitchen was fined £14,000.
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