A Durham takeaway has been fined more than £4,000 after inspectors found filthy conditions including mouse droppings, greasy pipework and a dirty Tandoor oven.

Now the company which ran the takeaway at the time, and its then director, have been ordered to pay more than £5,000 by a court after being prosecuted by the council under food safety regulations.

Rokeya Begum, 61, of Marlborough Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Belmont Spice Limited, trading at Cheveley Park Shopping Centre, Durham; each pleaded guilty to four offences at Peterlee Magistrates' Court.

The court heard that the December 2019 visit to the takeaway, which is at the Cheveley Park Shopping Centre, revealed:

Belmont Tandoori was closed down and awarded a food hygiene rating of zero after an inspection by Durham County Council’s environmental health team in 2019
Belmont Tandoori was closed down and awarded a food hygiene rating of zero after an inspection by Durham County Council’s environmental health team in 2019

Following the visit the business agreed to close and was given a food hygiene rating of zero by the council.

Three days later council officers visited with a pest control company and found that very little progress had been made to address the breaches of hygiene standards.

Following a request by the business to reopen, the council officers revisited the premises on December 19. Again, unsatisfactory conditions were found, with inadequate cleaning and disinfection of food equipment, holes in a structure which would allow pests access, and mouse droppings.

In her defence, magistrates were told Begum accepted responsibility for the offences.

She had run the business for two decades without any problems up until two years ago, winning an award for best local takeaway. For personal reasons, Begum had reduced her role in daily operations, ultimately passing the business to her son and no longer having any involvement.

The court was also told the business has undergone an overhaul of its staff and is now doing well, being given a four star rating.

Belmont Spice was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £521.94 and a victim surcharge of £181. Begum was fined £320, with £521.94 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.