Kebab shop fined over pest infestations

Prosecution launched after cockroaches and rats found at Ponders End Kebab

Cockroaches found inside a takeaway box at Ponders End Kebab (credit Enfield Council)
Cockroaches found inside a takeaway box at Ponders End Kebab (credit Enfield Council)

Cockroach and rat infestations discovered at a kebab shop in Ponders End led to the firm and its owner being prosecuted by Enfield Council.

Food safety officers had discovered a cockroach infestation “within minutes” of an inspection taking place in August 2020, and then on a return visit in March 2021 found evidence of rats living in food storage areas.

The “disgusting” infestations led the council to launch a prosecution against both EBM Catering Ltd, which trades as Ponders End Kebab in Ponders End High Street, and its director, Kazim Recber, aged 42 of Town Road, Edmonton.

Last month they pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court. Both the company and the director were fined £436, ordered to pay half each of the council’s costs £3,283.12, plus a victim surcharge of £43 each – a total of £4,241.12.

George Savva, the council’s cabinet member for licensing and regulatory services, said: “This was a genuinely disgusting pest infestation which this business failed utterly to control. Our food safety officers found cockroaches within minutes of arriving on site and found plenty of evidence that they had managed to get into food packages, food preparation areas and storage areas.

“The huge population of cockroaches on site posed a imminent risk to public health and their presence was compounded by inadequate cleaning practices with dirt, food debris and cockroach faeces found in food storage and preparation areas.

“Furthermore, after the business had voluntarily closed to get its house in order, we subsequently found a rat infestation on site, which highlighted the businesses inability to control pests and we decided it was in the public’s interest to prosecute.

“Food businesses need to understand that they are obligated to take the necessary measures to protect the public from harm. The lapses in food hygiene and pest control were utterly unacceptable and that was reflected in the sentence handed down by the court.”

The court heard how an officer from the council’s food safety team visited the premises on 17th August 2020 after receiving a complaint from a member of the public who had spotted a cockroach on the premises. Officers found live cockroaches and multiple hygiene failings.

The business at that time closed voluntarily and remained closed for a few weeks until council officers re-inspected to check that the issues had been addressed and the risk to the public’s health had been removed. However, on 1st March 2021, the food safety team visited the premises again to carry out a pre-arranged food hygiene inspection and found evidence of rats in food storage areas.

Ponders End Kebab is currently open for trading and, asked by the Dispatch whether there were still any cockroaches on the premises, a staff member said: “There is no problem now – it was two years ago.”