Mansfield takeaway was "overrun with rats"

The Indian Ocean takeaway
The Indian Ocean takeaway

A Mansfield takeaway that was "overrun with rats" and posed a risk to public health, was a "disaster waiting to happen", a court has heard.

Environmental health officers visited Indian Ocean, on Stockwell Gate, after complaints of an incorrect food hygiene rating, on August 23, 2018, said Louise Ellis, for Mansfield District Council.

New owners Abul Hussain and Rahul Khan were present on September 25, when officers found rat droppings on the floor and shelves, dirty chopping boards and filthy utensils.

"Sesame seed packaging had been gnawed by rats and there were open packets of food that could have been contaminated," said Ms Ellis.

Officers also found raw meat stored in salad containers, a bag of rotten potatoes, as well as rat holes in the wall and ceiling.

The restaurant was closed, and when officers returned on October 9, Hussain accepted he had not identified how the rats were getting in.

"He said the premises were overrun with rats before he took over," Ms Ellis said.

The court heard the restaurant has since re-opened under new management.

Chris Perry, mitigating, said the business's former owner had died of cancer and was "inherited" by Hussain and Khan, who reopened it after six months.

"Both of these men, of good character, took on too much," he said. "They were overwhelmed immediately. They did their best - it wasn't good enough".

He said they were plagued by staffing issues, and once word got out about the hygiene issues, business fell off, he said.

"Both men were living in Luton," Mr Perry said. "Mr Khan was there once or twice a week and Mr Hussain was there five days a week.

"They accepted their responsibility. They gave up the business in December 2018. New owners took over in March.

"They found they had inherited a business that was failing."

Hussain now works for Sainsbury's and Khan now works as a cleaning contractor, he added.

Hussain, 51, of Montrose Avenue, Luton, and Khan, 48, of Millfield Road, Luton, admitted five charges of failing to comply with EU food safety and hygiene standards, when they appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

District judge Jonathan Taaffe said: "It is imperative that the highest standards are insisted upon to avoid the risk of serious harm to members of the public.

"It's no exaggeration to say that the evidence points to neglect over a number of years and an unwillingness to take advice and members of the public were put at significant risk of harm.

"It was a disaster waiting to happen."

Both men were fined £5,000 each and were ordered to pay £1,059 costs and a £100 government surcharge apiece.

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