Restaurant handed £4k bill over mouse infestations

Posted On 06 Feb 2014 at 6:11 pm

A Brighton restaurant has been landed with a bill of more than £4,000 after two mouse infestations.

The Sukhothai Palace, in Middle Street, Brighton, admitted four charges of breaching food hygiene laws.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday 6 February) the company behind the restaurant – Sukhothai Palace Ltd – was fined £500 for each offence.

The company, which has its registered office on Old Shoreham Road, Portslade, was also ordered to pay £1,970 in costs and a £50 victim surcharge, making £4,020 in total.

The company was set up in 2003 by the directors Jitjan and Donald James Connacher.

The Thai restaurant closed voluntarily in June last year after Brighton and Hove City Council food safety officers found an imminent risk to health from an active mouse infestation.

The restaurant cleaned up and reopened but in October when officers returned for a routine inspection they found signs of mice throughout the building.

There were mouse droppings on the floor in the kitchen, in the storeroom, on the threshold by the back door and on the floor in the corridor leading through to the kitchen.

Droppings were also found on the floor under the bar, on a plug attached to an adaptor and outside the door to the basement.

More were found on the external steps and in the cupboard off the stairs in the flat above the restaurant.

Baits and traps had been laid but insufficient effort had been made to block up pest access points, the court was told.

Since the previous inspection in June, cleanliness had also lapsed, with debris on the floors in the dry goods storeroom, the bar and behind equipment in the kitchen.

There were dead insects in the fly machine and grease was running down the kitchen wall from the ventilation canopy.

Officers also found the light level in the corridor between the toilets and the kitchen was so low it was difficult to see to clean properly and inspect for signs of pests.

Councillor Pete West, the chairman of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “The restaurant had already been advised in the summer and given a caution about cleanliness and hygiene so should have taken steps to address the problems.

“That didn’t happen so we had no alternative but to prosecute to protect the public.”

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