[from Islington Gazette]
Kebab shop’s oven home to family of rats
19 December 2007
BOSSES at a fast food empire have been fined a total of £25,000 after a rats nest was found in one of their ovens.
The shocking discovery at Woody’s Express, in Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, was just one of a catalogue of horrifying food hygiene offences uncovered by environmental health officers during a visit in June.
Rat runs were found leading from outside the kebab shop and restaurant into the bakery areas, and rat droppings were seen on food equipment, and in the food storage and preparation areas.
The nest was discovered in an oven used to prepare food for staff working in the grocery store and restaurant.
The managers were immediately asked to sign a Voluntary Closure Notice as the restaurant posed a serious risk to public health, and ordered them to carry out extensive work before they it could reopen.
Last week company directors Bayram Gummus and Ilhami Incem appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, both charged with five food hygiene offences relating to the state of the premises.
Sentencing them the magistrate described it as “the worst case I have ever seen” and accused them of endangering lives.
He fined them both £2,500 on each offence – resulting in a total fine of £12,500 each – and ordered them to pay the council’s legal costs of £1,600.
Councillor Marisha Ray, Islington’s executive member for public protection, said: “This is a truly shocking case. We expect food shop owners to adhere to the highest standards in food hygiene, and we will take action against those who don’t.
“These people put the lives of our local community at risk through their irresponsible running of this premises. The hefty fine imposed by the court should send a clear message to others – Islington Council won’t tolerate it.