Cockroach-infested Shapla takeaway in Dagenham fined after customer finds insect in her curry
PUBLISHED: 14:27 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:43 17 March 2017
A takeaway that served a woman a cockroach with her lamb curry was this morning fined £3,500 and its owner £333 after hygiene breaches.
Afjol Miah, managing director of Shapla Dagenham Ltd in Longbridge Road, pleaded guilty to five failures to comply with EU food hygiene rules after council officers found cockroaches there during three inspections.
The inspections were prompted when a customer found a “full piece of cockroach” in her takeaway curry on March 13 last year, which 26-year-old Miah also admitted to at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court today.
After the customer reported her findings to the delivery driver, he gave her £10 and took the insect away.
But Nathan Street, prosecuting for Barking and Dagenham Council, said that discovery was just the beginning as inspectors found three intrusions of cockroaches on March 15 last year, including adult cockroaches on high shelves, small cockroaches on the floor and “a large number of them moving across the floor behind the fridge”.
Miah agreed to immediately close the restaurant until the infestation was purged as council officers condemned his dirty shelves, cooker, fridge and floor.
But when they returned the next day to hear Miah explain what steps he’d taken to address the issue, their conversation was interrupted by a “large” cockroach crawling on the ceiling above their heads. On the third visit on March 17 last year, there was “no cockroach activity”, but dead cockroaches remained.
Miah, who lives in Wellington Row, Bethnal Green, was ordered to pay both the restaurant’s fine and a personal fine, plus a combined victim surcharge of £203.
He was also ordered to pay £4,459 in court costs.
Defending, Gregory Wedge told magistrates Miah had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and explained the infestation struck when his client had taken time off to look after his partner, who was recovering from a thyroid operation, and his daughter, who was suffering with a “severe reaction of eczema”.
“He was away for the week and left the chef in charge,” he said. “Both his daughter and his partner were suffering from significant health problems. Mr Miah had to care for his partner, who was bed-bound.”
He said this was Miah’s only hygiene breach and pointed out that he dealt with the infestation within four days of being informed, adding: “It’s no coincidence that the time he’s away and has left other people in charge [is the time when] food hygiene slipped.”