News MuMure-opens after virus hit

MUMUowner Ciaran O’Quigley has re-opened his popular Maidstone town centre restaurant after a suspected outbreak of norovirus shut it down.

Mr O’Quigley (pictured) said his

team had carried out a massive fu- migation exercise “like something out of Ghostbusters” after he de- cided to temporar- ily close theWeek Street eaterie and nightspot on Sat- urday, February 18.

All foods,

drinks and dry productswere de-

stroyed. He told Downs Mail: “The guys

at the council’s environmental health people have given us huge Brownie points for shutting the place down after a few people re- ported getting ill. The place has got a complete wipe down.” Mr O’Quigley posted a lengthy response on the restaurant’s Face- book page after a number of reports that diners had suffered sickness after eating there on Valentine’s Day. He said that two days later “it

Mu Mu inWeek Street, Maidstone

came to my attention that three bookings had felt unwell due to dining at Mu Mu, with a fourth booking contacting us on the Fri- day. All of these bookings were in- vestigated internally and the cooking methods were scrutinised and suppliers contacted to trace cer- tain items back. “We were more than happy that

our hygiene and cross-checks fell in line with theway thatwe have con-

ducted our business for the last 25 years and met our high standards.” He said that on Valentine’s Day,

one member of staff had rung in sick and was told not to come in, and two workers said they felt un- well and were sent home immedi- ately. On Friday, he had contacted the head of Maidstone council’s en- vironmental health section. He was also made aware that an outbreak of contagious norovirus

(vomiting and diarrhoea bug) had broken out throughout the country. Itwas decided to close the business temporarily to break the cycle of this infection, and staff were advised to stay away until the followingweek. Maidstone Council said that its environmental health department had been contacted. “Our officers are working with the owners ofMu Mu and Public Health England to ensure that all precautions are taken to safeguard the public whilst fur- ther investigations take place. “An environmental health officer

will be attempting to contact those who ate at the restaurant last week and complained of illness. The food business operator has engaged in a process of deep-cleaning the whole premises prior to re-opening.” Mr O’Quigley, who re-opened

Mu Mu on February 24, said: “We’re very busy with lots of book- ings.We did the right thing in shut- ting down for a few days to make certain we broke the cycle of infec- tion.”

Serial offender is jailed

SERIAL offender, homeless Billy Matthews, has been sent to prison for a year after a string of crimes. Hewas sentenced on February 16

at Medway Magistrates’ Court where he admitted failing to co-op- erate with a breath test, failing to surrender to court bail, two counts of driving without insurance, two charges of driving while disquali- fied and two of shoplifting. On December 23, 2016, Matthews

AMOTORIST with a pet parrot perched on his steering wheel and 12 drivers using their mobile phoneswereamongthe 20motoring offences detected by Kent’s road policing unit on just one morning patrol.

A dozen face road fines Besides the mobile phone users, officers found four drivers not in proper

control of their vehicle and four driving at excess speed. One driver was summonsed for using a mobile phone while driving, not

usingaseatbelt, and driving without insurance and also had his vehicle seized. Police said that one of the most memorable incidents witnessed by the of-

ficers happened on the M20 between junctions 6 (Maidstone) and 5 (Blue Bell Hill) when they noticed a van swerving between the lane markings.

Aspokesman said:“Whenthey pulled alongside in their unmarked car, they noticed a pet parrot walking along the top of the steering wheel with the driver appearing to talk to it.

“The driver is now subject to a traffic offence report.” Under tough new penalties introduced on Wednesday, March 1, drivers

caught using mobile phonesmay incur a fine of £200 with six points on their licence. Roads policing Chief Inspector Tony Dyer said: “We’re hoping to raise

awareness of the new penalties and hope they act as a deterrent to drivers. “There is a lot more at stake than just a higher penalty – you could kill or hurt an innocent person by checking a text or taking a call.

22 Maidstone April 2017

(28), of no fixed address, drove a Mercedes Benz on the A249 at Stockbury while disqualified and with no insurance. On January 18, 2017, he stole meat worth £90 from a service sta-

tion in Branbridges Road, East Peckham. Three days later, he stole clothing

worth an unknown amount from a shop in Eclipse Park, Maidstone. On January 23, he failed to sur- render to bail at Mid Kent Magis- trates’ Court. On February 15, he drove aVaux-

hall Zafira in Bearsted Road, Maid- stone, while disqualified and with no insurance. He also failed to co- operate with a breath test. Magistrates sentenced Matthews

to 12 months in prison and banned him from driving for 30 months. He must also pay £156 compensa- tion and £85 costs.

Share £300k funding pot

KENT’S Police and Crime Com- missioner is inviting groups to bid for a share of £300,000. Matthew Scott has created the

Safer in Kent Fund and the Men- tal Health and Policing Fund, which target voluntary, charity and community groups to pro- vide worthwhile projects. Mr Scott said: “Kent police

works with a number of locally- based organisations and coun- cils to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour. “To support this, I’m investing

in schemes that make people safer and reduce re-offending,

and in commissioning services that reduce pressure on policing due to mental health. “I want to empower and sup-

port local communities to work towards reducing and prevent- ing crime and antisocial behav- iour. “I want to provide support to vulnerable, minority and hard- to-reach groups to reduce and prevent victimisation; and I want to reduce the amount of criminals re-offending.” Grants of up to £20,000 are

available. The closing date for bids is May 30, 2017.

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