LIVES could have been lost at a filthy Swindon Indian takeaway.

They are the shocking words of a judge who fined the owner thousands of pounds.

Hygiene inspectors found dirty fridges and freezers, mouldy vegetables and no cleaning products at Zeera in Park North.

Now the takaeaway has shut for good and owner Roubel Meah of Cavendish Square must pay a £5,100 fine plus £1,500 in costs for 16 food hygiene offences and for failing to comply with two food safety improvement notices.

District judge Simon Cooper summarised: “Somebody could have died if they had eaten your food.

“The premises were filthy, food preparation areas were covered in thick grime, fridges and freezers were covered in food debris, and there were no cleaning products.

“The same cling-film dispenser was used to wrap raw meat and ready-to-eat food, no procedures to prevent cross-contamination were in place, staff weren’t aware of the serious risks of serving food to people with certain allergies, and no arrangements were made for staff to be trained in food hygiene procedures.”

Health inspectors visited Zeera five times between February and June 2017 and, despite issuing improvement notices, they found the same issues each time.

James Harris, defending, explained: “In 2007, Mr Meah’s dad had heart operations, so his eldest son stepped in and assumed responsibility for the business.

“He was doing his best but accepts that he fell short of what was expected of him.

“He’s hard working with a full-time job, which is why he wasn’t at Zeera during any of the inspections. He only visits the restaurant a couple of times a week.

“Mr Meah lives with his brothers, mother, father, wife and young daughter.

“He has a central role in the family and he is adamant that the business is not reopening.

“His father is less inclined to think that as it’s his life’s work.

“These proceedings have been a nightmare for the whole family.”