The owners of Peninsula Chinese Restaurant displayed a disregard for food hygiene. They have also been banned from running restaurants in the future after being prosecuted for the second time in two years by Greenwich Council (Photos on Flickr).

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On January 19, the owners of the Peninsula Chinese Restaurant, 85 Bugsbys Way, SE10 pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to 18 breaches of food hygiene regulations and were fined £54,000 plus £2,600 costs. This is the highest ever fine for a business in Greenwich and is believed to be one of the biggest in the country.

In April 2011, the restaurant was closed by Greenwich Environmental Health Officers when an unannounced inspection found mouse droppings among packets of food, next to plates and even inside a roll of cling film in the kitchen.

There was also a heavy build up of grease on the floor beneath the cooking range and mouldy vegetables on the floor of the walk-in fridge. No paper towels at hand basins meant it was difficult for kitchen staff to maintain good standards of personal hygiene.

The judge, His Honour Judge Byers, remarked that the kitchen was in a “disgraceful state” and the conditions were a “disaster waiting to happen”.

The court heard that the restaurant’s owners, Crestdane Limited, were fined £13,500 in February 2010 after similar conditions were found at the premises. Because of this previous conviction, Judge Byers prohibited Crestdane Limited from running a food business in the future.

Councillor Maureen O’Mara, Greenwich Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment said: “I applaud the verdict in this case and welcome the additional sanction that bans the owners from running a food business in the future.

“The hygiene conditions at this restaurant were an absolute disgrace. The key priority seemed to be placing profits over offering good quality food by operating with a blatant disregard for the health of their customers. We have tried to support the restaurant to clean up its act, but they have consistently failed to do so.

“This is an incredibly significant year for Greenwich as we celebrate our new Royal Borough status and our special role as Host Borough for the 2012 London Games. We are proud to welcome 18 million visitors every year and our restaurants help to support a tourism industry which brings in £774 million to the local economy and supports more than 8,000 jobs.

“We are determined to ensure that locals and visitors to Greenwich can enjoy the exciting range of international foods on offer, without worrying about how safe the hygiene conditions are in the kitchen.”

“The Council has taken a range of actions in the past, including providing advice in person to managers, sending warning letters to the company and serving legal notices. This time Officers were forced to close the premises due to the very serious conditions found.”

In accordance with food laws, the Council had to let the business reopen after eight days, once the kitchen was cleaned and the original mouse infestation treated. It is the courts that have the power to keep a business closed, and that is why the Council welcomes the decision in this case.