THE OWNER of a Ravensthorpe takeaway who failed to turn up at court three times over a rat infestation at the premises has been fined thousands of pounds.
Raja’s Pizza Bar, on Huddersfield Road, was shut down after a routine inspection on April 25 last year showed signs of a rat infestation.
Environmental health officers discovered faeces in the food storage and preparation areas and issued a hygiene emergency prohibition notice.
The owners of the food outlet, Soha Enterprise Ltd, were summonsed to Kirklees Magistrates Court because they’d committed serious food hygiene offences – but they failed to attend three times.
So magistrates went ahead with the case in their absence earlier this month and found the company guilty of seven offences.
They were fined £7,000, plus £754.91 for investigation costs, £400 for legal costs and a £100 surcharge.
The company was also found guilty of failing to notify the council of who the food business operator was.
Coun Rob Walker, cabinet member for culture and environment, said: "The fact that this company sent no representatives to attend court showed a blatant disregard for the law.
"They failed to keep the premises clean and maintained in a good repair and condition and failed to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests, putting public health at risk.
"This behaviour is unacceptable and we will not tolerate this."