AN OXFORD man has been banned from ever running a food business again after hygiene inspectors twice found his Indian restaurant infested with rats.

Shomosta Majumdar, 52, of Palmer Road, Headington pleaded guilty to eight offences under the food hygiene regulations at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The charges came after South Oxfordshire District Council's health team found a litany of horrors when they visited his restaurant Anokhi, based in High Street, Wallingford, in June and December.

ALSO READ: Family bakery slammed over hand washing and sausage roll temperature

During the first visit officers saw rats and found droppings from the rodents throughout the kitchens. Food was also prepared in an outdoor area which rats had access to.

It is believed the pests may have got into the restaurant via a filthy dried toilet.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Majumdar voluntarily closed the restaurant and it received a zero food hygiene rating, meaning ‘urgent improvement required’.

A later visit by inspectors found it clear of the rat problem and safe to reopen.

Officers returned for another surprise inspection on December 6 and found the kitchen was once again infested with rats, with droppings even found on a trolley used to transport food to customers.

Oxford Mail:

Officers this time forced the business to close but a Prohibition Order was lifted later that month. The premises was once again given a food hygiene rating of zero.

A statement from the restaurant in December to the Oxford Mail had claimed the latter incident was the 'first in 18 years' adding 'our customer’s health and safety is important to us'.

Read in full what restaurant said after being closed due to rats

During Monday's sentencing magistrates were told Majumdar had previously received a caution for food hygiene offences which included a failure to reinstate a hot water supply to his premises, a failure to keep his premises clean and a failure to inform council officers that he was running the business. It was also revealed Majumbar and the restaurant has now been evicted from 76 High Street by the landlord.

Oxford Mail:

Caroline Newton, Cabinet member for housing and environment at the council, said, “The vast majority of food establishments across the district have good levels of compliance – 66 per cent of business have a Food Hygiene Rating of five meaning 'Very Good'. However when standards aren’t being met the council will take immediate action to safeguard against dangers to health."

She added it was 'very rare' that a business would continually breach food hygiene law but said: "This case demonstrates that the fines and punishments are severe and that the council will not hesitate to take robust action.”

Oxford Mail:

The court fined Majumdar £960 and ordered him to pay the council’s costs of £4,232 and a victim surcharge of £48 as well making a Prohibition Order, which stops him from participating in the management of any food business.

More recent food hygiene scores from across the county

The lifetime ban, which can only by lifted via an appeal to magistrates, marks the first time a food business operator in South Oxfordshire has received such an order.

Opened in 1999, Anokhi had boasted being the oldest Indian restaurant in Wallingford.

Oxford Mail: