Sunday 25 February 2018

Restaurant owner batters rat to death in middle of environmental health inspection

Miranda Bryant

ENVIRONMENTAL health officers were horrified when the owner of an Indian takeaway restaurant in Tooting killed a rat in front of them in the middle of an environmental health inspection — leaving a pool of blood on the floor.

If that was not bad enough, they also found evidence of a serious rodent infestation including rat and mouse droppings and gnawed chicken bones in preparation and storage areas of a premises used to cook food for the New Chutney Express.

Officers from Wandsworth council said they had never seen anything like it.

Owner Rajakumar Rajalingam has been ordered to pay nearly £20,000 (€24,652) in fines and court costs after pleading guilty to a string of food safety and trading standards offences at a hearing at Kingston crown court.

He was also sentenced for selling counterfeit goods at his general store at 66 Tooting High Street after trading standards discovered counterfeit Jacob’s Creek wine in his shop.

The court also heard that Wandsworth council had taken legal action against him in 2007 for selling counterfeit champagne.

The judge told Rajalingham that his behaviour had been “disgraceful”. Councillor Jonathan Cook, spokesman for consumer protection at Wandsworth council, said: “This was a shocking catalogue of hygiene and food safety breaches. These premises were in a truly appalling state and posed an unacceptable danger to public health.”

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