Photos: There’s a cockroach in my curry – Cromer restaurant closed after infestation
14:48 29 January 2014
A Cromer takeaway and restaurant has been ordered to shut until further notice after an infestation which led to a customer finding a cockroach in his curry.
The discovery of the German cockroach in the man’s chicken vindaloo prompted food inspectors to visit Dalia Spice in Prince of Wales Road on August 1 last year, where they found a large-scale infestation of the insect.
Live cockroaches were found in takeaway containers and nesting in floor and wall gaps, fly traps were not working, equipment was dirty, and the lead inspector killed an adult cockroach as it scurried across a food preparation area during the visit.
Registered food operator Shelina Akhter chose to close the restaurant voluntarily while pest control teams dealt with the problem, and it reopened several weeks later.
But District Judge Peter Veits, sitting at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, yesterday ordered the Dahlia Spice be closed again until it receives a safety certificate from NNDC, after hearing that recent inspections had found evidence of cockroaches again.
“To say you’ve been naive in running these premises is putting it mildly,” Mr Veits told Akhter.
“The premises were in an appalling state: live cockroaches, cockroaches in meals and around the food preparation areas. How anyone could have thought it was safe to prepare food from these premises I don’t know.”
He added: “You should not be operating until you can be absolutely certain there no chance of a cockroach getting near a food preparation area.”
Earlier, prosecutor Cara Jordan had told the court how a customer had found shrivelled cockroach missing a leg at the bottom of his curry on July 31, and fell ill that night.
When inspectors questioned Akhter, she said she had been aware of the cockroach problem and had called pest control.
Ms Jordan said: “When they began the inspection in the kitchen area it was very quickly apparent to them that there was a serious infestation of German cockroach and the whole life-cycle was present, indicating that this was a serious infestation.”
Akhter, 39, of Canada Road, Cromer, pleaded guilty to eight counts of contravening food regulations.
She was given a conditional discharge for two years, told to pay £50 compensation to the customer who fell ill, and ordered to pay £3,662.50 in costs from the business accounts.
Representing herself, mother-of-two Akhter, who has run the Dalia Spice for five years, said: “It was my mistake. I didn’t know I had to close it straight away – I called the pest controller and I thought he would tell me if I had to.”