Couple fined £10,000 over cockroach infestation at Subway in Wellington
A husband and wife who ran a cockroach-infested sandwich shop have been told to pay more than £10,000.
Subway in Wellington's market square was shut down with immediate effect and closed for a month after an inspection by Telford & Wrekin Council officers found insects crawling over shelves and food preparation areas in July last year.
Now Gurdeep and Simmerjit Sandhar, the shop's food business operators, have been fined after they pleaded guilty to breaking EU food safety regulations.
Telford Magistrates Court heard that a member of the public reported the shop to the council, after they saw an employee who was making a sandwich brush a cockroach off a food preparation area and carry on without washing their hands or disinfecting the area.
Julie Fisher, prosecuting, said the council's environmental officers visited the shop as a result on July 16 last year.
They found live cockroaches of various sizes throughout the food preparation areas, as well as sticky insect patches and pheromone tracks.
A red scoop used to add steak to sandwiches had cockroach faecal spotting on it, and cutlery was stored in a dirty container.
There was also food debris on various shelves and mouse droppings on the floor of a storage area.
Miss Fisher said: "The number and sizes of the cockroaches indicated the premises contained a whole life-cycle of cockroaches."
She said the standard of cleaning at the restaurant was "very poor".
The inspector made an emergency order for the restaurant to be shut that day, and it remained closed until August 16 when it was re-inspected.
It turned out the restaurant had had previous problems with cockroaches as recently as June 6 2018.
The court heard that Mr and Mrs Sandhar were heading abroad for holidays when the news of the infestation reached them, and that they delegated to a relative to organise pest control in their absence.
They were interviewed by police on September 11, and yesterday pleaded guilty to three offences each of contravening the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Gurdeep Sandhar, 44, and Simmerjit Sandhar, 41, of Waterloo Street, in Tipton, were fined £5,280 each, £1,760 for each of the three offences.
They were also told to pay £1,115 each towards prosecution costs, and £170 each in a victim surcharge.
The court heard that Mr and Mrs Sandhar owned another Subway branch and have recently bought a care home and a chip shop, but that their income totals £350 a month each.
Philip Dale, defending, said that they had suffered "very heavy losses", which were "not unrelated" to reports in the media of their case. He gestured in the direction of the press bench as he spoke.
Chair of the magistrates bench Allison Hine said: "Whatever the state of the premises now, at that moment in time they were in the state that's been reported. We have seen the pictures and you have pleaded guilty."
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said: “I welcome the sentence handed down by the court today for it shows the importance of the issue of food hygiene and the importance of the work our officers do about it.
"We do all we can to ensure the safety of the public we serve and that’s why our officers moved quickly to temporarily close the shop last year.”
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