Tipton restaurant hit with fine of almost £20,000 for rat infestation

The boss of a Tipton buffet restaurant where food was kept in a rat-infested shipping container has narrowly avoided being jailed and been ordered to pay nearly £20,000.

Shocked food hygiene inspectors from Sandwell Council’s environmental health team discovered gnawed food inside the unit when they visited Koi’s Restaurant in Dudley Port. The container, in the business’s car park, was used to store food and was closed down due to “imminent risk of injury to health” when it was inspected in March 2018.

This followed the restaurant itself being closed down in September 2017 when inspectors discovered out of date food, rat holes around the premises, gnawed food, footprints in flour and droppings. There was no pest control contract in place and when food hygiene inspectors returned to check on the business in March, they again found expired food and rat holes.

Director Wen Qiang Cai of Dudley Road West, Tividale, was yesterday (Tuesday) fined £13,000, ordered to pay costs of almost £5,500 and handed a four-month suspended prison sentence at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Cai was ordered to pay £1,500 each for six food safety and hygiene offences in September 2017 and a further £2,000 each for two offences in March 2018, plus £5,481 in costs. He was also disqualified from being a director for four years.

The court heard that it was obvious that there was a pest problem as there were rat dropping in the food storage unit and gnawed food. The owner had not kept up with a pest control contract and the business had a poor food safety history. Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Elaine Costigan said:

“The conditions our food hygiene inspectors found at Koi’s Restaurant were shocking. It had already been closed down once and although some improvements were made, when our inspectors went back they found the same problems had returned. 

“The court has handed out a heavy sentence indeed. This should send a message to all food businesses – we don’t tolerate poor standards in Sandwell and we will take action against people who put the public’s health at risk.”

Koi’s Restaurant has since ceased trading.


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