'Filthy' restaurant closed due to severe cockroach infestation
PUBLISHED: 12:31 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:34 07 November 2018
South Norfolk Council
A “severe” cockroach infestation which posed a risk to public health is behind the closure of a Norfolk restaurant.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court today granted South Norfolk Council a prohibition order to shut Diss Tandoori, at Shelfanger Road in Diss.
Environmental health officer Annmarie O’Toole said a “rug” of cockroaches was found in the restaurant’s poppadom warmer during a visit on November 1.
A further 50 cockroaches were discovered in a bin that stored uncooked rice, while others were found crawling over onions.
The restaurant’s manager, Sahil Shahriy, said he was working with the council and pest control to rectify the problem.
Giving evidence, Mrs O’Toole said: “I have never seen anything like it in my whole career.
“We found the full life cycle of cockroaches in the premises, which is a concern because it shows how extensive the infestation is.”
The court heard that council officers visited the Indian restaurant after a customer reported that a cockroach had fallen off their plate.
During the hearing, prosecutor David Lowens presented magistrates with a container that had some of the insects inside.
Photographs taken during the inspection were also shown to the court.
Mrs O’Toole said: “The whole premises was found to be filthy. There was lots of waste and the cleaning was very poor.
“There was a black dustbin used to store uncooked rice. We lifted the lid and we were shocked to see a number of cockroaches running away.
“I couldn’t possibly count how many, but it was in excess of 50.
“At the bottom of the poppadom warmer, it was almost like a rug of alive and dead cockroaches.”
She said it was “rare” to find cockroach infestations in Norfolk, adding that the insects can carry disease.
“The immediate risk to public health definitely did exist,” Mrs O’Toole added.
However, she said the business operator had since made a “significant effort” to clean up the premises.
Speaking after the hearing, manager Mr Shahriy said himself and the business owner had “recently” taken over the restaurant.
He said: “As soon as we took over we did get in contact with pest control and they told us what to do.
“Then a customer came in, their whole plate was empty, and he saw a cockroach on the wall.
“I called pest control and the next day the council came in.
“The council visited the premises yesterday and there was a day and night difference.
“We want to work with the council because we don’t want anything to harm the public.”
Magistrates said it was “quite clear” the premises was infested and there was an “imminent” risk to public health.
It granted South Norfolk Council an emergency prohibition order to prevent the restaurant from operating as a food business.