Two neighbouring takeaways in Wellingborough have been closed until further notice after health inspectors found live German cockroaches crawling around the premises.
Papa John’s and Flames Kebab, neighbours in the town’s Midland Road, were both discovered to have ‘widespread and uncontrollable’ infestations when the council’s environmental health inspector visited on Friday evening (November 8).
They were both shut immediately because of the imminent public health risk.
District Judge Tim Daber this morning (Thursday, November 14) heard that when Wellingborough Council inspector Martin Pettitt arrived at the Papa John’s franchise he found seven sticky traps and white powder psrinkled all around the room. He then saw a live cockroach running across the floor.
He found six more sticky cockroach traps in the kitchen.
Mr Pettitt told the court that the owner of the restaurant Waseem Hayyat had become aware of the infestation last Monday (November 4) but had not closed it down and had continued to trade.
The inspector had not been allowed access to two rooms in the building, one of which was being lived in by employees, which were believed to have been the source of the infestation.
Mr Pettitt added: “Cockroaches live in dirty conditions in hidden places and come out at night when it’s dark and quiet and can climb all over surfaces and utensils.”
The court heard how the bugs carry many bacteria including salmonella and campylobacter - the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.
“I’ve been doing the job for twelve years,” said Mr Pettitt, “and I’ve never seen a cockroach in a food premises.”
When he went next door to Flames Kebab on the same evening, Mr Pettitt found a similar situation, with live cockroaches on view in a hall leading to a food storage room.
There were also sticky traps at the back of a chest freezer and in other places, with white powder sprinkled around the building.
He said: "The infestation was widespread and uncontrollable."
When he revisited Flames on Monday, he discovered the entire premises had been 'completely gutted'. He said: "They'd stripped out all the fabric of the building.
"They'd taken it as an opportunity to rejuvenate the building, but there's still an infestation."
The council asked the court to impose hygiene emergency prohibition order which bans both premises from opening until inspectors are satisfied it is safe for them to reopen.
Judge Daber said he was satisfied there was a risk to health and granted the order.
The court ordered Papa John's to pay costs of £1080 and Flames to pay costs of £900 to the council. Neither business was represented at the hearing today at Northampton Magistrates Court and so no mitigation was offered.