A Caribbean take-away has been fined £30,000 after its owners ignored hygiene warnings and dead cockroaches were found.

Tar-like deposits of uncleaned food grease were also found at Tasty Jerk in Whitehorse Road, Selhurst, leading to the owners receiving the highest food safety related fine ever issued by Croydon Magistrates Court.

Freddie Williams and Murphy Lawrence who are directors of Tasty Jerk, admitted five food hygiene offences on May 7.

The court heard the business had consistently failed to meet hygiene standards after first being visited by food safety officers from Croydon Council in 2005. Although efforts were made after each visit, the standards were never maintained.

A heavy infestation of cockroaches and mice was discovered when officers visited last May.

The business was again given advice on cleaning and how to maintain standards and the owners voluntarily closed the business so work could be carried out.

But a return visit in November found split bags of raw meat stored above and in direct contact with raw salad vegetables, risking contamination which could have led to food poisoning for customers.

Kitchen equipment was found to be filthy, with dead cockroaches found in dirty food trays.

Heavy build-ups of grease and baked-on food remains were found on the cooker, filters and extraction canopy.

Food debris and stagnant water was found on floors and behind fittings and there were no soap and hand-drying facilities at the sink.

Williams and Lawrence and the company were fined £1,976 each per offence, plus a victim surcharge of £120 totalling £30,000. They were also ordered to make a contribution to costs of £976.67.

Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: "This is an appalling case of a blatant and repeated disregard of the food hygiene regulations by people who'd had plenty of warnings and advice from our food safety officers.

"Most worrying is the fact that their failure to properly manage and conduct their business put their customers at a genuine risk of serious food poisoning.

"The weight of the penalty imposed in this case must serve as a warning to all catering businesses they have a legal and moral duty to abide by the regulations."