A COUNCILLOR has warned that her council will not hesitate to slap restaurants with fines if they fall below required standards.

Elizabeth Gillespie, South Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet member for housing and environment, made the comments after an Indian restaurant in Thame was given a £35,000 fine.

The Star and Garter, run by a company of the same name, left chutneys and naan dough out among an infestation of rats and obstructed hygiene inspectors.

At the end of last month the company pleaded guilty to nine offences under food hygiene regulations at Oxford Magistrates’ Court. The court fined the company £35,000 and ordered it to pay costs to South Oxfordshire District Council of £2,071 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Ms Gillespie noted that most establishments follow the rules.

She said: “The vast majority of food establishments across the district have good levels of compliance, however on occasion when standards aren’t being met the council will take action to safeguard against any dangers to health.

“It is very rare that food business operators will ignore and even breach these safeguards. This case demonstrates that should this happen the council will not hesitate to take robust action and this fine - the largest in a prosecution brought by us under food safety laws - reflects the seriousness of such breaches.”