Mouse infestation sees popular Wimbledon restaurant prosecuted


Wimbledon Broadway’s Jimmy Spice’s was prosecuted for acting contrary to food hygeine regulations.


By Hardeep Matharu

A mouse infestation has seen popular Wimbledon restaurant Jimmy Spice’s prosecuted for acting contrary to food hygiene regulations.

Merton Council prosecuted the owners of the multi-cuisine outlet, which is located in Wimbledon Broadway, on 21 December 2011 at Wimbledon Magistrates Court for offences dating back to March of last year.

East and West Restaurants Ltd, which owns Jimmy Spice’s, pleaded guilty to five offences under the food hygiene regulations and was fined £10,000. 

It was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of £1,530 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Proceedings began after the council’s environmental health officers visited the restaurant on 18 March 2011, in response to a complaint by an alarmed member of the public who said a mouse ran over his foot during his lunchtime meal at the restaurant.

A thorough inspection revealed a serious mouse infestation affecting two food storerooms on the first floor.

Mouse droppings were found throughout the rooms and large quantities of food had been contaminated by the mice gnawing on and urinating over packaging.

The storerooms were closed on the spot and only re-opened once pest control measures had been put in place, the contaminated food was destroyed and the premises properly cleaned and disinfected.

The company accepted full responsibility for the conditions found at Court, saying measures were now in place to prevent a repeat occurrence.

Chander Ahuja, Jimmy Spice’s General Manager, said he does not believe the prosecution will deter diners.

He said: “Even at the time of the incident, the council did not shut the entire restaurant.  It kept on trading. 

“We have taken the matter seriously and are doing whatever we can to ensure food safety remains a top concern.”

A pest control contractor now carries out regular checks on parts of the premises.  Necessary pest proofing has occurred, and staff members have been re-trained in food hygiene. 

“We are working with the council and have been proactive, so there is very good evidence for our customers to rest assured that we are serving food of the best quality,” Mr Ahuja added.

Merton’s environmental health officers will continue to work positively with East and West Restaurants Ltd and local managers to ensure standards continue to improve.

Andrew Judge, Cabinet Member for Environmental Sustainability and Regeneration, said the council remains as vigilant as ever to maintain the highest food safety standards.

“Our environmental health officers do their utmost to work with food businesses and restaurants to avoid closure where possible. However, we have an absolute duty to our residents to put their needs first and we will not tolerate standards anything less than excellent when it comes to the public’s health,” he said. 

“We will continue to ensure that even in these difficult financial times, if restaurants and takeaways want to stay open in Merton, they will have to meet the highest hygiene standards.”

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