A HAMPSHIRE restaurant has been fined thousands of pounds after a customer was served a live cockroach in their food.

Southampton-based eatery Sprinkles Gelato has been prosecuted after inspectors visited their branch on Commercial Road, Portsmouth - which was covered in cockroaches.

They were previously given a food hygiene rating of two following a visit in May last year.

Inspectors found a significant amount of cockroaches in areas where food was being prepared, while staff allegedly failed to protect food from contamination likely to make the food unfit for human consumption.

One washbasin was dirty, and fridges and freezers were not disinfected to avoid contamination, a court heard.

Owners pleaded guilty to five counts of hygiene offences relating to a cockroach infestation.

A spokesperson for Portsmouth City Council said: "They were fined £1000 per offence totalling £5000, plus £100 compensation for the customer who was served a live cockroach in their food.

"They also were ordered to pay £1,256.59 in costs."

Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Poor hygiene standards pose a significant risk to public health. I’m pleased the council’s environmental health officers have made another successful prosecution to help keep residents safe."

Sprinkles Gelato was contacted for comment.