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Just desserts for owner of cockroach takeaway

The owner of now defunct Indian takeaway Spice E4 (previously of 487 Hale End Road) pleaded guilty to four offences in front of a District Judge at Thames Magistrates' Court on Friday 24 April.

Mr Mohammed Islam was prosecuted by Waltham Forest Council after cockroaches and filthy conditions were uncovered by Environmental Health Officers last September.

A routine inspection uncovered a poor state of repairs and live ‘German’ cockroaches in the kitchen and store room, with several found in the cellophane dispenser used for packing food such as salad.

Cockroaches could easily access food preparation worktops, some of which held open containers of food, and dead cockroaches were littered throughout the business. Cockroaches can carry food poisoning pathogens such as Salmonella and E-coli as they can access waste, toilets and sewers and then physically distribute germs onto food or food preparation surfaces, utensils and equipment.

Filthy conditions were also found throughout the business with floors, walls, units and equipment encrusted in long term deposits of grease and food waste. Poor structural repairs such as holes in walls and lino flooring coming away provided easy access and harbourage to cockroaches.

The business was immediately closed following the inspection and two days later the Council placed the matter before Stratford Magistrates Court to gain a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order. The order ensured the business remained closed until the imminent risk to health was removed.

Subsequently Mr Islam gave up ownership of the takeaway, which has since changed name as well as ownership. At the hearing on Friday, the Judge gave Mr Islam credit for his early guilty plea and noted he was of limited means. 

He was fined £620 for the failure to control pests and was ordered to pay costs in the sum of £1,950. At the hearing in September Mr Islam was ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £569, meaning he has been ordered to pay a total of £3,139.

News of the prosecution demonstrates the thoroughness of the Council’s Food Safety service, seeing the process through from inspection to initial closure to court order and finally to prosecution. While it can take time to finally see owners of food outlets brought to justice, eventually they get their just desserts!

PHOTO: Live cockroaches found to be crawling amongst the filth that littered the Spice E4 Indian takeaway kitchen in Chingford.


  • Residents who wish to report a food business in the borough that they have concerns about should email the Council’s Food Safety Team by emailing or phoning 0208 496 3000.

  • Ratings for restaurants, takeaways, cafes and other food businesses in the borough can be checked for free at

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