A Caribbean food joint has been closed after inspectors stumbled upon an active rat infestation dangerously close to where food was being served to oblivious customers.

The floor of Crave Caribbean Restaurant at 323A Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, was thick with rat faeces and appliances were coated in layers of grease.

Food safety officers from Waltham Forest Council carried out a routine inspection on Wednesday, November 21, and issued a hygiene emergency prohibition order (HEPO).

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An inspector shows the infestation of cockroaches at the Royal Oak

The order was confirmed at Thames Magistrates’ Court and costs of £1,057 were awarded to the council.

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Grease is pictured near the deep fat fryers at the Royal Oak

The Royal Oak Pub at 320 Hale End Road, Woodford Green, was also shuttered following the discovery of a cockroach infestation, which included a home for the disease-carrying pests in the motor area of a chest freezer.

Cockroaches were also found in the bar area, meaning both drinkers and diners were at risk.

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Dozens of cockroaches are pictured at the Royal Oak

On Thursday, November 15, Thames Magistrates’ Court confirmed a HEPO and awarded the council costs of £980.

The owners of the Royal Oak have since made significant improvements to the premises and it has reopened.

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Cockroaches made themselves a home in the motor of this freezer at the Royal Oak

Earlier in November, the owner of Priya Maamalas was fined £5,000 by Thames Magistrates’ Court on top of £2,611 costs and a victim surcharge of £170 for serious breaches of food hygiene regulations.

The restaurant at 256 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, which served Asian cuisine, was closed by food safety officers in February.

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Rat droppings pictured on the floor of Crave Caribbean 

Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader of Waltham Forest Council, is urging people dining out to check the hygiene rating of a restaurant beforehand using the Food Standards Agency tool.

He said: “When you’re enjoying a meal out, you should be able to relax and enjoy your food without worrying about the state of the kitchen.

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Crave Caribbean was home to a serious rat infestation

“Pests and infestations can and do cause disease and illness.

“Council food safety teams work hard to keep consumers safe from unscrupulous owners who do not keep their premises clean and hygienic.

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The restaurant was immediately closed after the shocking discovery

“Anyone who operates a food business has a responsibility to keep their customers safe.

“If we suspect this is not the case we will investigate, we will close down those who do not meet the required standard, and we will name and shame them so that residents and visitors can make an informed choice about where to eat.”