Pest controller says kebab house had worst case of cockroach infestation

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A pest controller with more than 30 years experience has told a jury that the cockroach infestation he found at a Halifax kebab house was the worst he had ever seen.

Andrew Stewart told Bradford Crown Court today (WED) that he was shocked to find monitoring traps filled with thousands of cockroaches when he visited Naz’s Kebab House and Grill in October 2012.

Mr Stewart said he had had a pest control contract with the takeaway owner Mohammed Azam for about three years and during a visit in April 2012 he had seen no cockroaches on the premises.

But in July 2012 he found three adult cockroaches and put out monitoring traps with a view to assessing the problem.

When he returned to check he was told that a cleaner had swept up the traps by mistake and thrown them out.

Mr Stewart was not called again until October when he alleged that Mr Azam told him the cockroaches had ‘’got out of hand.’’

He said he put down nine traps in the takeaway premises on Thomas Street South and a further nine in the flat above the shop.

Mr Stewart returned six days later and every single trap was full of cockroaches.

The court has heard that just over 3,100 cockroaches were found in the takeaway with a further 3,884 in the flat upstairs.

Mr Stewart asked Mr Azam if he was prepared to shut the shop for about three days so he could ‘’blitz’’ the infestation with spraying.

‘’With this being the worst case I have ever done it would probably have taken longer,’’ he added.

‘’He said he couldn’t afford to shut down.’’

Prosecutor Sobia Ahmed asked if Mr Azam was aware of the extent of the problem and Mr Stewart said:’’I told him it was worst case ever.’’

Mr Stewart removed all the full traps and put down new ones but the court has heard that when environmental health officers visited the premises three days later hundreds more cockroaches were found.

The spray treatment was eventually undertaken by Mr Stewart and he confirmed that it took until November 19 to clear the infestation.

The takeaway was shut down by the environmental health officers because it posed an imminent risk to public health.

Registered owner Azam, 39, of King Cross Road, Halifax, Iftikhar Ahmed, 41, of Rye Lane, Halifax, and 42-year-old Alquab Hussain, of Sandford Road, Bradford, have all gone on trial accused of failing to ensure adequate procedures were in place to control pests between September 9 and October 18 2012.

Azam, who claims he sold on the business to Ahmed and Hussain in September 2012, has pleaded guilty to a separate charge of failing to ensure adequate procedures were in place to control pests covering the period between April 1 and September 10 2012.

All three defendants have denied further charges relating to breaches of food safety regulations regarding the filthy condition of the premises and the equipment.

(Proceeding)