‘I pushed it to the side and as I flipped it over, the legs sprung out.’ Cromer cockroach curry customer describes his moment of horror.
PUBLISHED: 11:14 01 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:14 01 February 2014
The man who found a cockroach in his takeaway curry from a Cromer Indian restaurant has spoken about his “disgusting” discovery.
Richard “Reggie” Nickerson rang North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) environmental health department after his horrifying find in a chicken vindaloo bought from the Dalia Spice restaurant and takeaway, on Prince of Wales Road.
Dalia Spice was last week ordered to close until further notice after Shelina Akhter pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ Court to eight counts of contravening food regulations.
Speaking after the court case, Mr Nickerson, 26, of Church Street, Cromer, said he and two friends had bought takeaway curries from the restaurant one day last summer.
“I got half-way through the meal and I found something I thought was a cardamom seed,” he said.
“I pushed it to the side and as I flipped it over, the legs sprung out.”
Mr Nickerson, who works as a scaffolder, said he had been pretty certain it was a cockroach. “I think my mates stopped eating at that point too,” he remembered.
He had rung Dalia Spice to complain and a man he took to be the manager had come round to see them “within minutes”, apologised and reimbursed their £28 bill.
“The man said: ‘I don’t know how this happened. I’ve never seen anything like this before.’ He gave me the money back and asked to take away what I’d found. He said: ‘I will show this to my staff and hopefully we will stop this happening again.’”
Later that night Mr Nickerson said he had been sick. He had remembered how busy the restaurant had been and started to worry about other customers falling ill too.
“I was sick the next day too and had to take the day off work,” he said. “I rang environmental health at 10am and told her I’d found a cockroach in my curry.
“She thought I might be wrong and said she had never seen a cockroach in a restaurant here and it was something that only usually happened in big cities. I emailed her the photo I’d taken of it and she rang back and said: “Yes, it’s a German cockroach.”
By noon environmental health officers had arrived at the restaurant and, as reported last week, they discovered live cockroaches in takeaway containers, and nesting in floor and wall gaps, fly traps not working, dirty equipment and the lead inspector killed an adult cockroach as it scuttled across a food preparation area.
Akhter was given a conditional discharge for two years, told to pay £50 compensation to Mr Nickerson and £3,662.50 in costs.
The restaurant cannot reopen until it has received a safety certificate from NNDC.
Mr Nickerson said he felt the compensation was “not much” but was pleased that firm action had been taken against Dalia Spice.
“I think it was pretty disgusting to be honest,” he said. “You don’t really expect it. You expect restaurants to be clean and not infested with cockroaches. I haven’t been back to an Indian restaurant since.”