Boss of rat-plagued West End bistro faces court

Le Marche Francais on West Maitland Street. Picture: Greg Macvean
Le Marche Francais on West Maitland Street. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A RESTAURATEUR at a rat-infested French bistro in the West End has been summoned to court after admitting failing to provide adequate pest control.

Pierre Pelletier, who runs Le Marché Francais at 9A West Maitland Street, was visited by environmental health officers on April 7 last year.

The inspection found electrical equipment had not been maintained to a reasonable standard and he was charged with failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of his employees.

Health bosses visited again the following day and discovered rat droppings and rat holes in the two large basement store rooms.

“Smear marks and gnawing consistent with the presence of rats was identified and rat fur was also noted,” the report said.

The restaurant was criticised for its levels of cleanliness and for not ensuring the food premises were kept in good condition and repair.

The charges state there were insufficient measures taken in the layout of the premises to protect against contamination, including rats and rat urine.

Food handling staff had poor food hygiene awareness and had not been adequately trained in food safety procedures, including temperature control, cleaning and pest control, the charges state.

Mr Pelletier and Milvins Limited failed to ensure that a permanent procedure based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points principles had been implemented and maintained, it said.

The restaurant, which claims to have been “treating its customers to authentic and flavoursome French food since 1986” was served with an emergency closure order.

It boasts of serving French dishes par excellence and urged people to try its “rich beef bourguignon, melt-in-your-mouth duck confit, light and tasty salmon in white wine sauce or snails in garlic butter if you are brave enough! Our cuisine shall take you on a gastronomic journey that will be well worth the trip.”

Mr Pelletier and Milvins Limited pleaded guilty to the charges in a letter to Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

But the pleas were rejected by the sheriff at a hearing yesterday and Mr Pelletier was called to appear before the court to answer further questions on January 9.

Three of the charges were contrary to the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and two charges related to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

A spokesman for the city council said it could not comment while proceedings were ongoing.