West Yorkshire: ‘Infested kebab shop was one of worst ever’

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Owners of a takeaway that was shut down over one of the worst cockroach infestations ever seen have gone on trial charged with a string of food safety breaches.

Almost 7,000 insects were found by a pest controller at Naz’s Kebab House and Grill in Halifax and a flat above the shop last October, a court heard.

But owner Mohammed Azam refused to close the premises for three days for spraying to be carried out, jurors at Bradford Crown Court were told.

Prosecutor Sobia Ahmed said: “He said he couldn’t afford to shut down for that length of time.”

The takeaway was immediately closed three days later when environmental health officers visited the “filthy” premises for a pre-planned hygiene inspection on October 18.

“The attending officers believed this was one of the worst infestations of cockroaches they had ever seen,” said Miss Ahmed.

Officers found hundreds more dead and live cockroaches in traps in the kitchen and preparation areas, she said.

“It was deemed quite clearly to pose an imminent risk to public health if it remained open and as a result an emergency prohibition sentence was served on each of the three defendants requiring them to cease trading immediately,” said Miss Ahmed.

Azam, 39, of King Cross Road, Halifax; Iftikhar Ahmed, 41, of Rye Lane, Halifax; and Alquab Hussain, 42, of Sandford Road, Bradford; deny failing to ensure measures were in place to control pests between last September and October along with other food safety breaches.

Azam, who claims he sold the business to Ahmed and Hussain last September, has admitted a separate charge of failing to control pests in the five months before the alleged sale.

Hussain claims the sale was only a verbal agreement with no formal transfer of the lease. He also alleges Ahmed was managing the business, which Ahmed denies.

The case is continuing.