THE OWNERS of a restaurant in Newport have faced prosecution after a disturbing discovery of cockroaches, rats, and maggots on the premises. Afzal Miah of Clevedon Road, Aktar Miah of Milton Road, and Desi Kitchen (NPT) Ltd have collectively pleaded guilty to a staggering total of 53 “serious” food hygiene offences.
The appalling violations came to light during an inspection conducted by the environmental health team at Jewel Balti, located at 368 Chepstow Road, in January 2022. All 53 offences are connected to the restaurant, which was open and operating when the officers arrived.
The inspection was prompted by complaints about unhygienic conditions at the establishment, which had been reported to the council. The officers discovered the following:
- A significant infestation of cockroaches affecting equipment, as well as food storage and preparation areas.
- Rats infesting the exterior food and equipment rooms, with the rodents observed moving through holes in the walls during the visit.
- Decayed food on the floor, hosting a large number of maggots.
- Cooked food left uncovered in the fridge, stored in unsuitable containers.
- Prepared ingredients and food equipment stored in inadequate conditions, leading to the presence of cockroaches.
In response to the inspection findings, the business agreed to a voluntary closure to address the identified issues, while the council issued improvement notices to the owners. Despite this, Newport Council stated that the restaurant failed to rectify the problems outlined in the notices. The inspection resulted in a food hygiene rating of zero, indicating an urgent need for improvement, with the conditions warranting further enforcement action.
The owners appeared at Cwmbran Magistrates Court on May 18, where the seriousness of the offences led the magistrates to transfer the case to Newport Crown Court for sentencing, which is scheduled to take place later this summer.
Councillor James Clarke, the cabinet member for strategic planning, housing, and regulation, expressed the council’s commitment to safeguarding residents and visitors from the kind of conditions that were discovered at Jewel Balti. He emphasized the council’s willingness to work with businesses that demonstrate a genuine desire to improve their hygiene ratings. However, he emphasized that decisive action would be taken against those who repeatedly exhibit poor, and in this case, dangerous food hygiene management.
Councillor Clarke stated, “I’m pleased that our enforcement action has led to the guilty pleas, and that the magistrates court recognized the severity of the offences committed.” The council remains dedicated to its duty of care and ensuring the highest standards of food safety within the community.