THE owner of a former takeaway appeared in court after he refused to clear his yard after it became infested with rats.
Mohammed Iqbal, who ran Sheepridge-based Planet Poppadom, appeared before Kirklees magistrates.
He was found guilty after a trial of failing to take steps to control a rat infestation in his yard.
The 43-year-old’s failure to remove rubbish and overgrown shrubs from the premises meant that the rat catcher was unable to get to the source of the infestation to curb it.
Magistrates were told that Iqbal ran the Sheepridge Road takeaway from 1997 until 2004.
The property was empty when it was visited on September 8, 2010 by Kirklees Council pest control officer Marc Graley.
He was called following complaints from residents about a rat problem at the rear of the takeaway.
Mr Graley told magistrates: “There was evidence of rats in the dry stone wall, there were rat runs and smear marks going into the wall.
“I would normally bait the area and check for drainage defects.
“But I couldn’t access the land because of the overgrowth and rubbish.”
Because the area was so overgrown it had to be cleared first before Mr Graley could deal with the rat problem.
The property was then visited by council enforcement officer Philip Asquith on September 22.
Because the yard was so overgrown he had to stand on the wall of neighbouring taxi firm Timmy’s to take photographs.
He also reported seeing bags of waste and even a discarded bed cluttering up the land.
The father-of-four was told to remove rubbish in an order served upon Iqbal, of York Avenue in Fartown, on October 13, 2010.
When he failed to comply with this, the council had to employ someone to remove the waste at the cost of £520 to the tax payer.
When the waste was removed Mr Graley was able to successfully tackle the infestation.
Iqbal said he removed the bulk of the rubbish but claimed that he didn’t know the notice meant clearing the overgrown shrubs as well.
Michael McCabe, prosecuting for Kirklees Council, said that Iqbal had failed his responsibilities in the upkeep of his property.
He said: “He allowed it to become a place where people dumped rubbish.
“It became overgrown and the cause of a rat infestation that caused such a problem in the locality.”
Magistrates found Iqbal, now a taxi driver, guilty of failing to take steps to control the infestation.
Magistrates fined him £135 and £15 victim surcharge.
They also ordered Iqbal to stump up £1,170 in prosecution costs.