A HAMPSHIRE restaurant owner has been fined thousands of pounds after a surprise inspection found evidence of rats in the kitchen.

Aminur Rahman Chowdhury, owner of the Siam Thai Lounge, in Lyndhurst , pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrates to 11 food hygiene and food safety offences.

He was fined £3,965 and ordered to pay £1,035 in costs.

The court heard that at a routine unannounced inspection in January, New Forest District Council environmental health officers found rain leaking through the kitchen ceiling.

The kitchen was dirty, there was evidence of recent rat activity and items of food found to be unfit for human consumption.

Despite receiving numerous visits from officers of the council’s food team to explain food law requirements, a further item of unfit food was discovered on a subsequent visit.