A restaurant owner has been fined nearly £7,500 after inspectors found signs of rat infestation at his premises.
Jian Lin, who runs the New Lotus Takeaway, pleaded guilty of failing to adhere to eight food hygiene regulations after inspectors found rat droppings and gnawed food packets in the restaurant’s food store.
Council officials visiting the premises in Dyke Road, Brighton, last October found two members of staff eating in the kitchen when they arrived.
Inspectors were shown the basement dry store and immediately found evidence of rat infestation with rat droppings on the tops of shelves and on cans of food and drink.
Lids used for containers for takeaway deliveries were stored in a box which also had rat droppings in.
Gnawing by rodents was also identified by inspectors on packets of rice, turmeric, creamed coconut and a 25kg tub of potato starch.
Inspectors also noticed that within an extension at the back of the premises, a drain which had previously been on the outside of the property was now on the interior and provided an essential water source for rats.
Although no signs of rats were discovered in the kitchen, it was noted that it was dirty underneath the fridge and cooker and that the fridge was leaking.
A food management safety system pack was stored in the kitchen but the cleaning schedule form in the pack was blank.
As a result of the inspection, Mr Lin agreed to close the premises voluntarily while cleaning took place.
The council stipulated that waste had to be removed and pest controllers called in.
However, when they returned the next day they found prawn crackers were being prepared on the premises and a pest controller had not been to inspect the premises.
Council officials then took the decision to close the takeaway with immediate effect under a hygiene emergency prohibition notice and it reopened four days later after the hygiene risks had been removed.
Mr Lian opened the premises in April 2003 and told the court his average weekly turnover was between £1,000 and £1,500.
He was fined £700 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £1,750 at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on March 8.