Inspectors were disgusted to discover an infestation of cockroaches and a dead pigeon decomposing in the kitchen of an all-you-can-eat buffet.
A court heard how a customer spotted a cockroach on the dessert display counter at Cosmo, in Swansea, and reported the restaurant to the council.
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The premises had already been handed a zero food hygiene rating by the council when it was taken over by Fea Moss Limited last August.
Weeks later a shocked customer reported the cockroach sighting to the authority and environmental health officers paid a visit soon afterwards.
Officers discovered evidence of sticky tracks under units and evidence of cockroach infestation near the ice cream scoop storage area as well as dirty wall junctions and tiles, Wales Online reports.
An infestation of cockroaches was discovered
A dead pigeon was found in the kitchen
They also came across the dead pigeon decomposing in the kitchen "while lunch was carrying on as normal".
Prosecutor Felicity Lewis told Swansea Magistrates' Court that dirty build-ups of grease had also been discovered and "the standard of cleanliness was very poor...and equipment to clean the floor of the kitchen was very dirty".
She added: "There was also cooked food being stored at room temperature. Officers were concerned there was an imminent risk to health."
The director of the company, Yanrui Yi, told officers of her intention to close the restaurant for refurbishment.
But when they returned in November – after the business had changed its name to Nines Global Buffet – they once again found hygiene failings including dirty chopping boards, rusty equipment, and failure of food standard systems at the 230-cover venue.
The business was issued with two hygiene notices in December. By March, the court was told, issues had been complied with, but the hygiene rating remained zero.The kitchen was swarming with insects
Mitigating, Aled Owen said the company had pleaded guilty to six food hygiene charges, including failing to ensure the premises were clean and free from pests and failing to ensure equipment was in good condition.
He added that Ms Yi "indicated remorse and a sense of shame at being in this position...which weighs heavily on her".
Mr Owen said when she had first expressed interest in taking over the business in July last year there were "no signs to indicate anything wrong with the site".
"It was being pushed through too quickly, and with hindsight it was too quickly because she was walking into something where she did not realise what was happening," he said.
"She was firefighting from that moment –she had clearly walked into a perfect storm."
Mr Owen said a pest control consultant was brought in, and a manager dismissed, and food safety programmes were introduced.
A number of other staff were also dismissed and, with reference to the dead pigeon, Mr Owen said the owner had found its discovery suspicious.
He said: "Whether it was malicious we do not know. We cannot say but how it was found she is very suspicious of, although she accepts in terms of liability she is responsible."Blood was found on the floor of the kitchen
He added: "This is not a case of running a business down over a long period of time but someone taking it on abruptly and not getting it to a standard that we would expect.
"It is a punishment in itself being before the court and the reputational damage is enormous.
Sentencing chairman of magistrates Jan Langton fined the company £10,500 each for the offences related to the discovery of the dead pigeon and the cockroaches, while fines of £1,000 were handed down for each of the other four offences.
She said: "It was very fortunate no member of the public was taken ill as a result."
She also ordered the company to pay costs of £830 and a surcharge of £170.