Some were found near open ice cream
Popular student favourite Lau’s Buffet King has been fined £3,000 for a cockroach infestation.
Newcastle City Council were not the first to spot the creatures in the Stowell street restaurant. Customers had been complaining for months about sighting cockroaches scuttling across tables, floors and even next to tubs of open ice cream in the popular restaurant.
Owner Jun Lau and company Junny Ltd. were prosecuted for their failure to control pests and to introduce procedures for keeping the premises clean, at a hearing at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.
The two-month long investigation by Newcastle City Council also found flies breeding in the drains of the 200-seater eatery.
It had been closed down for eight days when deemed a “danger to the public” during the inspection earlier this year.
Their report said an environmental officer found cockroaches on “walls, floors and surfaces” as well as in an ice-cream freezer next to open tubs of ice cream.
It also said: “Further evidence of cockroaches was found in the downstairs pot wash room indicating that the whole premises were infested. Officers decided that the premises presented an imminent risk to health and needed to close.”
Diseases spread by cockroaches can include salmonella, and certain bacteria that can cause impetigo, due to the fact that they feed on human faeces as well as human food.
The Lau family business empire is prominent and popular in the North East, with six other Chinese restaurants in their name across the region.
Despite the situation at the Stowell Street restaurant, there is no evidence of similar health risks in the other buffet-style eateries.
Magistrate Richard Ferry said: “This is a serious breach of food hygiene. The photographs clearly show a restaurant that has not been cleaned for a long time. This was not the result of a long weekend, it is very dirty on and under surfaces and there are clear scenes of insect infestation.
“We accept that nobody reported any food poisoning outbreaks, however, we feel this was a real risk due to the level of infection and cleanliness.”
The magistrate acknowledged an early guilty plea from Mr. Lau on behalf of the restaurant and fined the business £3,000 on top of £3,200 in costs. He was also personally handed two fines totalling £245.
Lau’s Buffet King reopened in January earlier this year having been declared food hygiene safe by the City Council.