The owner of a ‘filthy and mouse-infested’ fast food takeaway has been banned from running another food business in Wandsworth after appearing in court.

Wandsworth Council’s food safety team found Butta Da Taba and Pizza, in Merton Road to pose an ‘appalling’ health hazard to customers and even had to be evacuated because of a leaking gas pipe which went unnoticed.

Its owner Anees Butt admitted to a ‘number of food hygiene and health and safety breaches’ at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on January 26.

Councillor Jonathan Cook, the council’s consumer protection spokesman, said: “The court heard an absolute catalogue of appalling failures by Mr Butt to run a safe business combined with a series of failed opportunities to put things right.

“We take no pleasure in forcing the closure of a business nor in seeking a ban on an individual from working in that industry, but these were very serious breaches that put his staff and the general public at serious risk of injury and harm.

“He left us no option but to take the toughest course of legal action against him.

“He had ample opportunity to improve conditions in his business but his cavalier attitude to safety and public health meant he showed himself to be quite unfit to be operating a food business.”

Butt was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of just under £5,000 while being made to carry out 80 hours of community service work.

As well as running a 'filthy and unhygienic' food premises, Wimbledon Magistrates Court was told he had several items of various electrical equipment which were banned because of the dangers they posed.

The council’s food safety team asked him to fix the issues in Butt Da Taba and Pizza but ‘time and time again he failed to do so’.

Also once known as Wandsworth Grill, it was found to be covered in grease, food debris, and ‘riddled’ with mouse droppings.

Mr Cook added: “I would urge other food shop proprietors and managers to take careful note of this case and to respond properly when problems are highlighted. Don’t do what Mr Butt did and think you can get away with ignoring safety warnings.”