A KIDDERMINSTER Balti house that was temporarily shut down following the discovery of a cockroach infestation has been hit with a £20,000 fine.

Kidderminster Magistrates imposed the huge fine on Paradise Balti House, in Lower Mill Street, at a sentencing hearing on Friday (February 9).

The company and director Nazir Hussain had pleaded guilty to five breaches of food hygiene legislation at a previous hearing on January 12.

Nina Dorrell, prosecuting on behalf of Wyre Forest District Council, told the court charges were brought against Paradise Balti after food inspectors were alerted to cockroaches in the restaurant, spotted by a customer in September 2016.

Officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services subsequently visited the premises and discovered an infestation as well as other serious problems, including a lack of hot water on the premises.

They immediately closed the business in the interests of public safety to give the owners the opportunity to address all of the issues identified during the inspection.

Further visits to the premises were carried out by officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services to monitor the work the restaurant was doing to eradicate the problems.

Officers allowed the premises to reopen in October 2016, when they were satisfied there was no longer an imminent health risk.

In January 2017, Mr Hussain told The Shuttle they had sharpened up their hygiene procedures and eradicated all the problems.

He added they believed the problem started from products brought in from abroad and it was the first issue they’d had in more than 20 years in the town.

The company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.

Mr Hussain was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay a £40 victim surcharge. The defendants were also ordered to pay costs of £3,088.92.

Councillor Juliet Smith, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Protection said: “The level of the fine imposed by the court reflects the severity of the offences.

“This sends a clear message to other food businesses that we will not tolerate businesses who flout food hygiene rules.

“We want residents and visitors to the district to feel comfortable in the knowledge they are eating food that is being stored and prepared in a safe and hygienic way.”