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Yarmouth hotelier's appeal dismissed

PUBLISHED: 10:59 08 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 03 July 2010

A Yarmouth hotel owner who allowed a chef and his pet rabbit to sleep in the building's filthy kitchen has had her appeal dismissed and has been given four weeks to pay a total of £40,000 in fines and costs.

A Yarmouth hotel owner who allowed a chef and his pet rabbit to sleep in the building's filthy kitchen has had her appeal dismissed and has been given four weeks to pay a total of £40,000 in fines and costs.

The owner of the Fairholme Hotel, who describes herself as a countess, Athanasia Constantine was also ordered to pay a further £3,260 in costs for her appeal at Norwich Crown Court despite her not turning up for the hearing for a second time.

Constantine, 40, had been appealing against her sentence at Norwich Magistrates' Court for breaching 17 food and hygiene regulations.

The court heard how Yarmouth Borough Council food hygiene inspectors had visited the premises in Princes Road in January 2007 and found the hotel's chef Luis Bento had been sleeping in the kitchen following a domestic argument. A white rabbit was also there.

They discovered the kitchen was in a squalid state with dirty equipment and rabbit droppings and urine on the floor.

Constantine, of Mill Hill, London, who is of Greek Cypriot origin failed to turn up to the appeal despite being told on the last occasion that it would go ahead in her absence if she did not turn up.

After hearing the facts of the case Judge Peter Jacobs dismissed the appeal and said they were serious offences which were a clear breach of food hygiene regulations which were there to protect the public.

He upheld the fines and costs for the case as he said that Constantine had caused much of this herself by her procrastination and failure to co-operate.

The court heard that Constantine owned five properties in Yarmouth as well as two properties in North London and Judge Jacobs ordered that the costs and fines should be paid in full by August 5.

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