Owner forced to close rat-infested restaurant

PUBLISHED: 16:39 14 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

A RESTAURANT owner has been fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to six charges of breaching food hygiene regulations after inadequate levels of cleanliness and rat droppings were discovered at his premises. Mr Ping Zhang, owner of

A RESTAURANT owner has been fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to six charges of breaching food hygiene regulations after inadequate levels of cleanliness and rat droppings were discovered at his premises.

Mr Ping Zhang, owner of the Queen's Chef restaurant in Littleport, admitted six breaches of The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.

The case arose after a routine inspection of the premises by environmental health officers from East Cambridgeshire District Council in May 2006. Food safety contraventions and rat infestation were noted and Mr Zhang was asked to close the restaurant. Officers visited the shop again and served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice, closing the business until officers could attend court to obtain a further Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order.

At the hearing on December 5 at Ely Magistrates Court, Maggie Camp, senior legal assistant for the council, told the court how the district council takes a serious view of crimes such as this because it could lead to an outbreak of disease and posed a risk to public health.

John Aspinall, acting for Mr Zhang, said that his client accepted these were serious matters and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Liz Knox, head of environmental services and housing, said: "Taking this action demonstrates the district council's commitment to protecting public safety and we will continue to prosecute businesses who are failing to keep up adequate standards and endangering public health.

A district council spokesman said that since the visit in May, Mr Zhang had worked with environmental health officers to bring the premises up to the required standards and had received confirmation on November 6, that the premises were now satisfactory.

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