A disgruntled chef who was caught by CCTV as he released non-native cockroaches into a Lincoln pub was given a suspended prison sentence today (Monday).
Tom Williams, 25, released the creatures into the kitchen of the Royal William IV pub on Lincoln’s Brayford Pool in an act of revenge after a row over paid leave.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Williams was employed in the kitchen as a chef, but the dispute over holiday pay erupted on October 11.
David Eager, prosecuting, said the pub’s catering manager had offered Williams £100 but was still unhappy and a number of texts and emails followed.
One message threatened to “bomb the kitchen with cockroaches”, the court was told.
Mr Eager said Williams returned to the pub at around 12.24pm on October 13 and freed around 20 cockroaches from a jar.
He also warned another member of the kitchen staff not to touch the cockroaches as they were poisonous.
“These were non-native cockroaches that you wouldn’t normally find in the UK,” Mr Eager added.
The pub and Williams contacted the local environmental health department.
Mr Eager said Williams usually kept cockroaches in a jar to feed his other animals, but added: ‘It’s clearly a threat, there’s an element of planning.
The court heard that Williams declined to comment during the interview and then failed to appear at Lincoln Crown Court for his trial.
Williams, of John Street, Lincoln, later pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to cause criminal damage and failed to appear for trial.
In a victim impact statement, the pub manager described how the Royal William lost £22,000 after being forced to close, deep clean and carry out repeated checks to ensure it there was no infestation.
The manager added: “The impact was not just financial on the Royal William team, particularly the kitchen staff, who had to accept that someone they knew had done this and then had to work more. away from his family for a long time.
Mitigating Jeremy Janes told the court that Williams made a number of bad choices by returning to the pub, giving no comment to police and failing to appear for his trial.
Mr Janes said Williams had a legitimate reason to return to the pub, but agreed to take the cockroaches with him in a jar.
“It’s not a good plan and hasn’t been well thought out,” Mr Janes added.
“There was a legitimate dispute, he made a bad decision to get an award.”
Mr Janes said that at the time, Williams was motivated by being the sole carer for his young son after rising through the ranks from pot washer to chef.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight told Williams: “One of the messages threatened to ‘cockroach bomb the pub’. That’s exactly what you did.
The judge added: “It was revenge, you were targeting them.”
Williams was given a 17-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and must also complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and 20 days of rehabilitation activity.
MyLocal Lincolnshire is the new home of Lincolnite. Download the app now