Cockroach infested restaurant re-opens as boss pleads 'give us another chance'
PUBLISHED: 10:51 30 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:37 31 December 2018
The owner of a restaurant that was forced to close after a "severe" cockroach infestation that posed a risk to public health has pleaded with customers to give them another chance after it re-opened.
Sahill Shahriya, owner of Diss Tandoori, which this weekend re-opened to customers for the first time since the closure, insisted the business had learnt its lesson and instigated new health, cleaning and pest control policies.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court granted South Norfolk Council a prohibition order to shut the Indian restaurant, on Shelfanger Road in Diss, in November.
Environmental health officer Annmarie O’Toole told the court that a “rug” of cockroaches was discovered in the restaurant’s poppadom warmer with a further 50 cockroaches discovered in a bin that stored uncooked rice.
She added: “The whole premises were found to be filthy. There was lots of waste and the cleaning was very poor. There was a black dustbin used to store uncooked rice. We lifted the lid and we were shocked to see a number of cockroaches running away. I couldn’t possibly count how many, but it was in excess of 50.”
Mr Shahriya, who has lived in Diss for 12 years and previously worked at the restaurant before taking it over from the previous owner in August, said: “I was always honest with the court and with South Norfolk Council and I try to honest with customers. The council said I needed to go to court and I couldn’t disagree with that because I had seen the evidence of it with my own eyes.
“We have been closed six or seven weeks and I have been working closely with pest control specialists who have been using chemicals to sort out the problems and get rid of the cockroaches.
“I had a meeting with the council and the pest controllers that said everything was okay, but I said I wanted them to give it another week of treatment, even though it meant staying closed and losing money, because I wanted to be extra sure that everything was alright.”
Despite the high profile public health issues customers returned on Friday when the restaurant re-opened.
Mr Shahriya said: “We have loyal customers and many were back for the first night of re-opening. I am really grateful that they have given us the opportunity after such a bad thing.
“The council has given us permission to open but I have asked them to visit regularly because I want customers to know that everything is fine and to have confidence in us and give us a chance.
“A lot of people have said why don’t you change the name or the signs outside, but I didn’t want to do that because people will know it is still me anyway. I want to be honest with the customers I can change the name but I can’t change my face.”