Vengeful chef released cockroaches in pub kitchen after pay row

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A chef released 20 cockroaches in a pub kitchen after a row over holiday pay.

Tom Williams threatened to “cockroach bomb” the kitchen following the argument on October 11, 2022.

Two days later, the 25-year-old carried out his threat, David Eager, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court.

Mr Eager said: “He entered the premises and released a number of cockroaches. They are a non-native species of cockroach used to feed snakes and tarantulas.” 

Royal William IV staff immediately phoned Environmental Health and pest control and closed the Lincoln pub, reports Lincolnshire Live.

The pub’s owner, in a victim impact statement read by Mr Eager, said: “The effect it has had on staff and families is large.

“It isn’t just the finances of to the company, it was how the rest of the Royal William team, particularly the kitchen team, are upset with what happened.

“They were depressed that someone who they worked alongside would be so callous towards them.”

The statement added that members of staff with children were particularly affected, as they had to stay late continuously cleaning the kitchen.

“They could no longer put their children to bed at night,” the statement read.

The pub paid £22,000 to its insurance to cover the damage caused, the court heard.

Williams was due to stand trial on November 21, but did not turn up.

On November 28, he entered a guilty plea to burglary with intent to cause criminal damage at the pub and failure to surrender.

“This is a case that is littered with poor choices by this defendant,” said Jeremy Janes, in mitigation.

“There was a legitimate dispute. He made a poor decision to go about getting reconciliation to get, in his mind, some compensation to his perceived loss.”

Mr Janes also said Williams’ decision not to speak when interviewed was a poor decision and “foolish.”

He added: “The final poor choice was to not attend his trial.”

However, Mr Janes said Williams was angry because he needed the money to provide for his son, who he has had sole custody of since he was 23 years old, and this led to the dispute.

But Her Honour Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight said: “You are very immature despite your age. Your son and society in general could benefit from you growing up.”

Judge Sjolin Knight asked Williams: “Do you want to change?” Williams responded: “Yes.” Judge Sjolin Knight asked again: “Do you want to see me again?”

Williams said: “No.” “Good answer,” said Judge Sjolin Knight.

Williams has four previous offences, battery, possession of a bladed weapon, ABH and being drunk and disorderly.

Williams, of John Street, Lincoln, was given a 17- month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Judge Sjolin Knight added: “This is your final chance. If you breach this I am putting you back inside.”

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