THE OPERATOR of a Builth Wells restaurant, who breached a voluntary closure agreement has received a 16 week suspended custodial sentence after being prosecuted by Powys County Council.

Dilshad Miah, food business operator of Bilash Restaurant in Builth Wells, appeared in Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on Wednesday, December 6, in a prosecution led by the council’s Environmental Health Team.

Mr Miah, pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Food Safety Act and Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations. Most notably, failure to put in place adequate procedure to control pests (rats) and failure to ensure that the food be protected against any contamination likely to render the food unfit for human consumption and injurious to health.

Magistrates heard that an unannounced food hygiene visit was carried out on the premises on August 24, 2016, after the environmental health team received a complaint about an offensive odour coming from the restaurant.

Inspectors found a number of imminent risks to health including an active rat infestation within food processing and storage areas; a strong smell of a dead animal and gnawed packets of food.

Environmental health officers found extremely poor standards of cleanliness to the structure of the kitchen and associated food processing and storage rooms, including the articles and fittings with which food came into contact.

Magistrates were told that at the time of this visit the food business operator Mr Miah was unavailable. The person in charge agreed to voluntary close the premises with immediate effect to eliminate the rodents, pest proof the premises and carry out a thorough deep clean and disinfection of the premises.

However, officers returned to Builth Wells later that afternoon and checked to see that premises remained closed but found that the premises had broken its agreement as the lights were on and food handlers could be seen cooking, with no signs being displayed stating the premises was closed.

At 9.40pm that same evening a further visit was made to the premises to ensure it remained closed. It appeared closed with the front door locked and lights off, however people were eating in the restaurant.

Dilshad Miah, of the Bilash Restaurant, said: “I do not agree or understand the verdict. I believe that the Health Officers are trying to destroy the business. Since the original verdict we have made the changes asked of us and in November 2016 we received a four star review. I do not understand why we are now back in court again after this, it will give people the wrong impression of the business.”