Benefits cheat ran filthy cafe kitchen but isn't jailed

Green meat

Paul Stevens has been running a Man V Food cafe in Cardiff since 2009, serving up delights including super-size burgers, kangaroo testicles and scorpions. Not only have food inspectors found slimy, green meat in the kitchen - which is 'unlikely to be fit for human consumption' - but for three and a half years that Stevens owned the cafe, he was also claiming benefits.

So why wasn't he jailed?%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%


Stevens (54), from Splott in Cardiff, has owned the Sizzle and Grill on Cowbridge Road, East Cardiff, since 2009.

The Daily Mail reported that before taking the cafe on, he had been unemployed, and was claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit, carers' allowance and incapacity benefit as the main carer for his wife Cheryl. When he started running the cafe he didn't notify the authorities of the change in his circumstances - and claimed £37,380 over three and a half years.


To add insult to injury, Wales Online reported that the cafe was in a disgusting condition. When food inspectors visited, their discoveries included bags of open and stinking raw frogs' legs, and foul grease coating the walls and floors. They gave it a hygiene rating of 0.

Stevens pleaded guilty to 18 hygiene offences. The judge said that it was a 'stroke of good fortune' that customers hadn't been ill after eating there.

However, Stevens wasn't jailed, because of his caring responsibilities, and because if he went to prison his cafe would close and his staff would lose their jobs. He was given a two year suspended sentence for the food hygiene breaches and a two-year conditional discharge for the benefit fraud, and was ordered to complete 150 hours of community service.

Five filthy kitchens

It's not the first time we have seen reports from filthy kitchens. Here are five of the most shocking:

In May last year, Flying Pizza in Morriston, Swansea, was fined £2,250 for hygiene failures - including the fact that staff had to manually flush the toilet - and then had no hot water in which to wash their hands before returning to make pizzas.

In March last year the Greenwich Trafalgar Tavern was fined £20,000, after a number of grim finds. Along with the mouse infestation was a problem with the drains that meant that the sinks had backed up and filled with sewage. The pub had solved this by covering the sinks with cling film.

In August last year, a Leeds pizzeria was temporarily shut - and made to pay a court £2,000 - after a customer found a cockroach baked into the crust of a pizza. After the inspectors were called, they also found cockroaches in pans, inside the chiller and running up the wall.

In December 2012 the owner of the New Chutney Express in Tooting, South London, was fined £20,000 for hygiene offences - including a rat infestation. He battered a rat to death in front of inspectors.

In February 2009, Chester's Chicken and Pizza, on Coy Nook in Blackburn was fined £27,000 after an inspection found 126 cockroaches in the kitchen.

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