A JAMAICAN fast-food restaurant has been fined a record £30,000 after dead cockroaches were found in its "filthy" kitchen. The owners of Tasty Jerk, in Whitehorse Road, Selhurst, admitted five food hygiene offences at Croydon Magistrates' Court last week (May 7). Freddie Williams, Murphy Lawrence and the company were each fined £1,976 per offence, totalling the highest fine for food safety offences ever levied by Croydon magistrates. The court heard the restaurant, which specialises in pork, chicken, pig trotters, lobster and fish, repeatedly breached food hygiene standards since 2005. Croydon Council food safety officers visited again last May and found "a heavy infestation of cockroaches and mice," prompting the owners to temporarily close the business for cleaning. But when officers returned in November, they found dead cockroaches in dirty food trays, "filthy" kitchen equipment and other food poisoning risks. A council spokesman said: "Other discoveries included heavy build-ups of grease and baked-on food remains on the cooker, filters and extraction canopy; food debris and stagnant water found on floors and behind fittings; and no soap and hand-drying facilities at the wash hand basin." Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said the failings put customers "at a genuine risk of serious food poisoning." He added: "This is an appalling case of a blatant and repeated disregard of the food hygiene regulations by people who'd had plenty of warnings and advice from our food safety officers. "The gravity of the matter has, I'm glad to say, been recognised by the justice system. "The weight of the penalty imposed in this case must serve as a warning to all catering businesses that they have a legal and a moral duty to abide by the regulations."
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