There's a rat in my kitchen (what am I gonna do?)

Your Local Guardian: There's a rat in my kitchen (file picture) There's a rat in my kitchen (file picture)

In their famous song from the 1980s Birmingham-based reggae band UB40 once declared they had a rat in their kitchen.

Faced with a similar predicament Tooting restaurateur Rajakumar Rajalingam decided to take drastic and brutal action, a move which ended up costing him £20,000.

Rather unwisely though the owner of the New Chutney Express, in Tooting High Street, decided to bludgeon the curious creature to death right in front of even more curious hygiene inspectors.

But as the disbelieving officers recoiled in horror, more rats appeared and one inspector even trod on one as he tried to avoid the oncoming hordes.

The inspectors later said that they had never witnessed such a scene during a food hygiene inspection.

Rajalingam's case was heard at Kingston Crown Court last week where he was ordered to pay nearly £20,000 in fines after admitting a catalogue of food safety breaches and trading standards offences.

Passing sentence the judge told him that his behaviour was "disgraceful" and he should be "heartily ashamed of himself".

He added he had "brought the restaurant business into disrepute" and put the "public at risk of serious illness".

The court had earlier heard Rajalingam was using a business unit in Bickersteth Road, also in Tooting, to cook and prepare dishes for his food outlet in Tooting High Street.

But when environmental health officers visited the business unit they found a serious rodent infestation with numerous rat and mouse droppings visible in food preparation areas.

Rats had found their way into the filthy kitchen through an open and uncovered drain located beneath a washing up sink.

Numerous droppings were found on shelves where food was being stored and part-gnawed chicken bones were also discovered.

After the rat-killing horror show, inspectors also found Rajalingam had been selling fake Jacob's Creek wine in his shop, for which he was fined almost £5,000.

The court also heard that Wandsworth Council had taken legal action against him in 2007 for selling counterfeit champagne.

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